The pace of change at News Corp is picking up with some significant cost cutting and other revenue enhancing decisions made, under way, or imminent.

The most startling of these moves is the widely reported move at the weekend by Rupert Murdoch to sell off the Dow Jones stockmarket index business, which will net him a lot of money, but may be seen as perhaps one of the worst decision he has made so far in the takeover of the Dow Jones Co.

As well, Star TV satellite business across Asia is being restructured and costs cut out of it, a free London newspaper is closing, bonus payment for the chairman and son James has been trimmed for the June 30 year, News and a group of US newspaper groups met to discuss Murdoch’s ambitions to end free news on the web and now there’s growing reports News International is moving out of Fortress Wapping to an already built set of offices, rather than build a new facility.

The London move is emblematic of the pressures under which the Murdoch group finds itself.

London reports say News International, which publishes The Sun and the News of The World, will shift to a nearby office in London, perhaps for a period to allow development work to happen at Wapping, perhaps for longer while other plans are considered.

News Corp has agreed to occupy about 16,700 square metres of the Thomas More office scheme, which is only marginally closer to the city than its existing home, on a lease of 10 years with breaks and will pay about $A8 million a year in rent.

The group has been considering the future of its London business for some time; it almost signed a deal late last year to move to a new office development in the city, and had also almost agreed a sale of Wapping to a residential developer. But that was reversed and a decision made to build its own site to consolidate all its UK head offices for the group, including the papers, books, Fox, MySpace and Dow Jones. That was crunched by the recession and financial crisis.

But now a medium-term rental deal seems to be the move, meaning Murdoch may not be a builder until he’s 88.

Meanwhile, the reports from the US at the weekend about the potential sale of the Dow Jones stock indexing business could see an outright sale, or a joint venture. Part of the deal will be to keep the name, although it won’t be owned by the company that started it. But the lure of an estimated $US700 million is too much for Murdoch, who also slipped out a small $US1 billion bonds issue on Thursday of last week to raise more cash. Murdoch paid too much for the company, has cut its value of $US2.8 billion, bought it at the peak of the market, has seen advertising income tank and and is now selling off some of the crown jewels to pay for his folly.

Last week’s talks between News and other newspaper publishers on forming a consortium to charge for news online and on portable devices may run into anti-trust problems.

The Los Angeles Times says News Corp’s chief digital officer, Jonathan Miller, is believed to have met with representatives of The New York Times Co, Washington Post Co, Hearst Corp and Tribune Co, publisher of the Los Angeles Times . It was after Rupert Murdoch earlier this month said he would begin charging readers of online versions of his newspapers in the coming year.

The LA Times is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because its parent, The Tribune Co of Chicago, is broke and fell under the weight of $US14 billion in debt late last year.

They will also have to watch a newly aggressive competition regulator and the Justice Department, which has thrown off the hands-off approach from the Bush days and started actively policing competition law in the US. The Federal Trade Commission and Justice are taking a long look at some of Google’s moves in books and services. A joint move by newspaper publishers will attract attention. Murdoch has no clout with the current US Government, especially given the continuing tirades from his highly profitable Fox News cable business on President Obama.