The biggest dent in News Corp’s second quarter earnings release this month came
from the $US99 million redundancy charge for the 700 production staff
who will be axed from its UK newspaper division over the next three
years as part of a major printing plant relocation project.

London’sDaily Telegraph
latched onto this aspect of the profit figures last week, but don’t
feel too sorry for Rupert because he’s confidently predicting a
windfall profit of $US100 million this year alone from
the sale of surplus land at Wapping.

London’s property bubble has clearly made it worthwhile for News Corp
to vacate most of its sprawling East London home base and they will be
doing much better than the sale of its giant Melbourne headquarters
which only fetched $18 million when Lachlan Murdoch decided to sell to
David Marriner a decade ago.

It’s a phenomenon that’s apparent around the world and there’s even been recent talk that Rupert will shift The Mercury, which is based on increasingly valuable land in Hobart. The same applies to The Sunday Times which is right next to the popular Northbridge night club district in Perth.

The axing of 65% of the UK production staff, who will receive an
average payout of almost $200,000 each, comes on the 20th anniversary
of Rupert’s legendary Wapping ambush of Britain’s notorious print
unions which News Corp President Peter Chernin has described as the
world’s most pivotal labour relations struggle in 40 years.

How fitting that they’ve taken the redundancy charge in the quarter
that falls right on that Australia Day anniversary, which wasn’t
exactly overtly celebrated by those involved.

Peter Fray

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