Murdoch quits his NI boards as rumours fly
RUPERT Murdoch has resigned as a director of companies behind the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times, fuelling expectations that he is preparing to sell his News International newspaper group.
Companies House filings show that he stepped down from the boards of the NI Group, Times Newspaper Holdings and News Corp Investments in the UK last week.
He also quit a number of News Corp's US boards, the details of which have yet to be disclosed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
News Corporation played down the significance of the resignations as "nothing more than a corporate housecleaning exercise prior to the company split".
The company has already said it will split into two separately listed companies, separating newspapers and book publishing from television and film assets.
Mr Murdoch has insisted that he remains committed to the UK newspaper business. He vowed at the time of the announcement to remain a "very active chairman" of the publishing business.
But his resignation of directorships on both sides of the Atlantic has raised expectations that he is gearing up to sever all ties with the firm.
Splitting News Corp would also put some much-needed distance between its film and television assets and the newspaper business, whose reputation is threatening the whole News Corp empire.
Claire Enders, at Enders Analysis said Mr Murdoch's resignations, were part of the "slow fade of Rupert and James (Murdoch) from the UK" that will be "complete and permanent".
"The grip of the Murdochs, finger by finger, has been loosened," she said."