Less than three weeks ago James Murdoch, younger son of Rupert Murdoch, was widely considered to be heir-apparent to News Corp.
News Corp’s decision yesterday to drop its $12 billion bid to takeover BSkyB likely also signaled the end of James’ assured role in the future of the company.
The BSkyB deal was, until this week, James’ baby.
James, it should also be noted, oversees the tabloid division of News Corp, which included the now-defunct News of the World and has been summoned by Parliament to testify to what he did and did not know.
Last weekend, days after the hacking scandal had unfolded (again) and the News of the World had shut down, Rupert Murdoch made a big show of flying into London to deal with the increasingly rocky aftermath, among other things, sending a signal that James was unable to deal with the disaster on his own.
Today the NYT reports that the split is widening.
The decision to withdraw the BSkyB yesterday was Rupert’s who, according to the Times, “overruled the younger Mr. Murdoch, consulting him only after the decision was all but final.”
Which begs the question: If James is out, and it’s certainly hard to imagine he retains the confidence of News Corp shareholders if his own father is overruling him in such a manner, who is the next in line to take over for 80-year-old Rupert.
The obvious answer is elder son Lachlan, who had a falling out with his father in 2005 and returned to Australia. So far Lachlan has remained out of the sordid picture, but one imagines that will not be the case for long.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.