Now the focus is on the Murdochs as phone hacking legal investigation enters a new phase

Unknown-4There may still be lots of trials to come in the never-ending phone hacking scandal even after the the conclusion of the first round of prosecutions which saw former News of the World editor Andy Coulson found guilty and his boss Rebekah Brooks (left) found innocent.

The Guardian reports today that police and prosecutors are examining whether or not the company itself, now part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, can be charged. Rupert Murdoch, and possibly son James, will be interviewed under caution.

The cost of the phone hacking affair is estimated at about £100m so far (to the UK taxpayer). A prosecution of News Corp would just about double that. But it would probably be worth the money in entertainment value alone.

And Murdoch’s empire has incurred heavy legal costs too plus the closure of the highly profitable News of the World and untold reputational damage.

But, as Financial Times media correspondent Henry Mance points out in this video, the Murdochs are actually much better off financially since the scandal broke – chiefly because the enforced division of the empire into print-based News Corp and TV company 21st Century Fox following shareholder pressure has boosted shares in the latter company enormously.

Fascinating stuff. The world’s big companies do seem to inhabit an amoral (and highly profitable) world of their own. Which may or may not be consolation for the Murdochs as they face Inspector Hound.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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