UPDATE: Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch caved to pressure from the British government and will appear before Parliament after all.
ORIGINAL POST: News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and his son James, the company's deputy chief operating officer, are both refusing to answer questions before Parliament. Their refusal could be the first thing two have agreed upon since News Corp.'s phone hacking scandal began.
Rupert Murdoch's withdrawing his bid to acquire BSkyB lit a tiny fire under News Corp.'s stock price, but that flame probably burned James. According to The New York Times, the 38-year-old heir to his father's News Corp. throne, had been in favor of continuing to push the BSkyB deal, even when faced with the British government's threats to strike down the bid due to the recent controversy over phone hacking and bribing police at News Corp.-owned papers. Just as his father coddles his beloved newspaper branch, News International, James held the prospect of a bigger cable television presence dear. In the end, Rupert only consulted James about canceling the bid after he'd already made the decision. Jeremy Peters and John Burns at The Times report:
The announcement is particularly fraught for James Murdoch, who ran BSkyB from 2003 to 2007. He has been the principal champion of the BSkyB purchase within the News Corporation, pressing both his father and the company’s board to go along with the deal. With BSkyB reporting to James, who runs the News Corporation’s European and Asian operations, the businesses in his portfolio would account for half of all the News Corporation’s revenue.
The decision to cancel the bid certainly stung Rupert Murdoch as well, but the 80-year-old media mogul probably hopes it will save him from another heart-wrenching possibility: spinning off his British newspapers. Rupert Murdoch's biographer Michael Wolff said earlier this week that News Corp. executives were considering an exit from the newspaper business in the U.K. altogether, and The Wall Street Journal corroborated his comments on Wednesday. Having shuttered News of the World, which he's has owned and operated for nearly half a century, Murdoch would reportedly be devastated to lose all of his papers, but the emergency option could come down to the shareholders. Meanwhile, James Murdoch shares "none of his father's romantic notions about newspapers," says The Times.