BSkyB – it ain’t over until the thin man sings

Media hyperbole surrounding the various and escalating News International scandals is subject to innumerable superlatives and generally over-exaggerated adjectives. Take, for example, the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston

“It’s a huge humiliation. This was [News Corp’s] biggest investment plan of the moment. It was one of the biggest investments they’ve ever wanted to make.

"It is an extraordinary reversal of corporate fortune… And questions will now be asked whether this is the full extent of the damage to the empire."

It is impossible to humiliate Rupert Murdoch, for the man has no shame. To Murdoch, business is all, and he appears to be rather good at it. I suspect that Murdoch’s fortune and empire are quite safe; it is colluding politicians and police officers who should be most worried.

So Murdoch’s News Corp is dropping its bid for a takeover of BSkyB. This hardly amounts to a “huge humiliation”, to use Peston’s words. BSkyB and News Corp are commercial concerns, and as such they can, subject to certain laws and regulations, trade as their shareholders see fit. The BSkyB bid could quite easily be revisited in the not-too-distant future, if shareholders were to continue to view the proposal as being in the companies’ business interests.

The rest is just political piss and wind. The only thing that could bring down News Corp is an international para-economic task force tasked by state entities with stripping the media group’s assets. But if governments were to join forces and attempt such a move, then we would see humiliation. Murdoch knows where the bodies are buried.