James Murdoch to take 'precisely zero' involvement in family's companies after split, says book

James Murdoch has signalled plans to have "precisely zero" involvement in his family's remaining businesses following the sales of 21st Century Fox and Sky, in a historic split of the world's best-known media dynasty.

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The comments to friends inform a new book, The Battle for Sky, which chronicles the rise of Britain's dominant pay-TV operator and the struggles of the Murdoch family to gain full control over it.

The book describes how James and his father Rupert Murdoch, now 88, quashed opposition from his elder brother Lachlan to break-up and cash in a global entertainment empire built over three decades.

Sky was sold to US cable giant Comcast in a £30 billion ($55 billion) auction last October, while Disney acquired most of 21st Century Fox in a $US71 billion ($102 billion) merger that changed the shape of Hollywood as it comes under attack from Netflix and other tech giants. The sales triggered a $US2 billion payday for each of the Murdoch children and are expected to trigger James's departure from the family business.


He has made clear he opposes the populist politics of Fox News, which is now under Lachlan's control and the central asset of a "new Fox" in which he plays no part. James is for now still on the board of News Corp, publisher of The Sun, but is focused on Lupa Systems, a new investment vehicle.


The Battle for Sky includes a foreword by Mark Thompson, the former head of the BBC, who discusses his role in campaigning against the News Corp bid for Sky that was ultimately destroyed by the phone hacking scandal.

Mr Thompson reveals his secret meeting with Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail, and his decision to sign a letter opposing the takeover without approval of the BBC Trust.

Telegraph, London