Vice Media made an attempt to buy former British Sunday tabloid newspaper, The News of the World, from Rupert Murdoch at the height of the phone hacking scandal, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Vice cofounder and chief executive Shane Smith offered to take the News of the World off News Corp’s hands during a meeting with Rupert’s son, James Murdoch.
No date was put on the meeting, but it is likely to have taken place in 2011 when the phone hacking scandal erupted after The Guardian revealed that News of the World journalists illegally accessed the messages of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Smith offered to turn the British newspaper into a “new kind of international news outlet.” His offer was rebuffed, but Smith told The Wall Street Journal that James Murdoch “liked our cockiness.”
Rupert Murdoch shut down the News of the World in July 2011 and two years later, News Corp took a 5% stake in Vice Media for $70 million (£53 million).
Business Insider has contacted News UK, which operates News Corp’s UK news brands, for comment.
The revelation comes as Vice boss Smith prepares to deliver the annual MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Wednesday evening. The conference is a landmark event in the British TV industry calendar.
In what is expected to be an unscripted address, Smith will trace the history of his company and discuss the launch of Vice TV channel Viceland in the UK later this year.
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