News Corp shareholder backs James Murdoch succession

Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi Arabian prince who holds the largest stake in News Corporation outside the Murdoch clan, has thrown his backing behind the succession of James Murdoch as the next head of the company.

Prince Alwaleed, whose business Kingdom Holdings owns a seven per cent stake in the business run by Rupert Murdoch, yesterday called James ‘Rupert Murdoch in the making”.

He told the Charlie Rose show: ‘”If he [Rupert Murdoch] doesn’t appoint him, I’ll be the first one to nominate him to be the successor of Mr Rupert Murdoch, God forbid if something happens to him,”

He added: “I have full confidence in him, full trust in him, and he’s capable…He’s really Rupert Murdoch in the making, and he’s almost there now.”

James Murdoch is currently chairman and chief executive of News Corp in Europe and Asia.

As the FT points out, Guessing Rupert Murdoch’s successor has been a favourite parlour game among media executives inside and outside of the empire for several years – however he has shown little willingness to give up his current role.

Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest brother, was viewed as a likely successor until he resigned as deputy chief operating officer of News Corp in 2005.

Late last year, he sold off his remaining non-voting stake in News Corp to fund his own media investments.

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