Well wouldn’t you? Hundreds of people (quite well-paid people at that) are out on the streets as the News of the World closes as Rupert Murdoch tries desperately to keep News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB alive and his investors off his back.
News Corporation deputy COO James Murdoch (son and heir of News Corporation chairman Rupert) and dad Rupert’s favourite girl in the whole wide world, News International CEO Rebekah Wade (after Mrs Murdoch, Wendi Deng of course) turned up in the News of the World offices this afternoon to tell the staff that the UK’s biggest-selling (and one of the oldest, founded in 1843) is to close immediately.
This is a business turning over £120m a year and making a healthy profit.
So why is Murdoch closing it? Well the phone hacking scandal centred on the News of the World is getting worse (and it’s got a long way to go) and Murdoch desperately wants to buy the 61 per cent of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB that he doesn’t already own.
This bid is currently valued at about £9.6bn.
So are the NoW crew being asked to fall on their swords for principle or profit?
After all, everybody expects the supposedly penitent News International to come out with a replacement seven-day Sun, if not this weekend then certainly the Sunday afterwards.
So can Murdoch’s latest, dramatic and wholly unexpected gambit work? Will closing the NoW clean the Augean stables?
Of course it won’t.
It’s a brave try but the Murdochs (and their allies like the fragrant Mrs Brooks) are in David Mellor’s Last Chance saloon and running out of credit.
There has never been such a sudden collapse of faith in a gigantic media empire.
It makes Robert Maxwell’s demise (admittedly fatal for him) look small beer.
Oh Rupert, you should never have done it. Any of it.