Bloomberg News

Daily Mail Would Gain If News Corp. Shuts Sun, Chief Morgan Says

November 18, 2011

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Daily Mail & General Trust Plc, the publisher of the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper, would increase circulation if News Corp. shuts the Sun tabloid, Chief Executive Officer Martin Morgan said.

The company’s Mail on Sunday gained some readers from the News of the World after News Corp. shut that tabloid amid a phone-hacking scandal, Morgan said. News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch said last week that he wouldn’t rule out shutting the Sun if evidence emerged of phone-hacking at that newspaper.

“I was a bit surprised by James Murdoch’s statement, and I wonder if he’ll regret it,” Morgan said in Barcelona today at a conference organized by Morgan Stanley. “We would certainly pick up circulation.”

This week, it was revealed that the Sun may have been implicated in a client list in private investigator Glenn Mulcaire’s records. Mulcaire was jailed for hacking into mobile phones to help reporters get information for stories. London- based Daily Mail has carried out an editorial review and determined that there were no policies that could have caused systematic hacking in its newsroom, Morgan said.

He didn’t rule out that “rogue” reporters and freelancers may have gathered information illegally. Still, the company doesn’t plan to search for evidence of hacking in its past, and police and government investigators haven’t honed in on its titles so far, he said.

“We employ a lot of journalists,” Morgan said. “It’s very hard to get your arms around the whole thing.”

Morgan said that the advertising market has shown some signs of “softening around the edges” in the past few weeks and the company has concerns that advertisers could pull back after Christmas and in the first quarter of next year.

The company, which will report financial results next week, saw improving advertising in September and October thanks to competition among grocery stores, Morgan said.

--Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Kenneth Wong.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in Barcelona via athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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