With James Murdoch confirmed as the heir apparent of his father’s News Corporation business there is much speculation about the future of the media empire he is destined to run. Possibly the most significant indicator this year of the way in which News Corp will move has been the $5bn purchase of Dow Jones which includes the Wall Street Journal.
The spending of more than three times as much, over $17bn, on Reuters by the Thomson Corporation has attracted much less attention. Thomson was once a power in newspapers in the UK and north America, but has largely got out of that business.
It sold The Times to Murdoch back in 1981. This year both have been getting into financial information. The Thomson newspaper business was founded by Canadian Roy Thomson who became the first Lord Thomson of Fleet. Since his son Ken became the boss it has become a huge information business concentrating on legal, financial, scientific and healthcare information.
After 25 years as chairman, Ken Thomson said: By wholeheartedly embracing change, I’m sure an exciting future lies ahead for everyone associated with Thomson. If my father were alive he would understand completely the need to continuously move on.
The world changes, situations change, corporations change, we change personally. Everything changes, you know, that’s the one constant in the world. How News Corp will change is unknown but it will undoubtedly change. But James Murdoch can at least look at Thomson Corporation and see that family businesses can and do prosper although Thomson is the smaller business.
Thomson has more than prospered with the grandson David Thomson now at the helm with a fortune of $22bn putting him in tenth place in the Forbes rich list. Rupert Murdoch is way down the list at 73 with $9bn to his name.