NEW YORK (Reuters) - News Corp is taking a brave but necessary step in putting its chief Rupert Murdoch, known for going off-script, on Wednesday’s quarterly earnings call for the first time in three quarters.
Murdoch, who will also be taking calls from analysts and the press, is likely to get more questions on the ongoing scandal at its UK papers unit, CEO succession plans and corporate governance than about its earnings. People familiar with the arrangements said it is not unusual for him to make an appearance on News Corp’s fourth-quarter call as it’s the end of the company’s fiscal year.
The risk for News Corp is that its maverick 80-year-old founder at times has been known to make off-the-cuff remarks which his aides have had to backtrack from.
Shareholders will also be listening for reassurances that the UK phone hacking scandal, which has rocked the entire company, will not spill over to the United States.
Murdoch will likely acknowledge some of the recent troubles in his prepared remarks but is not expected to issue a new ‘mea culpa’ similar to the one he gave at the UK Parliamentary hearings, according to one of the people.
The conference call will take place after a board meeting on Tuesday in Los Angeles, from where Murdoch will be calling in.
New York-based News Corp was rocked by a scandal at its UK newspaper unit, after its best-selling weekly tabloid News of the World was found to have hacked into the phones of thousands of people including a murdered schoolgirl and terror victims. It has since closed down that newspaper in an unprecedented move.
Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; editing by Gunna Dickson