News Corp's Murdoch is cooling on Britain

Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:44am IST

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(Reuters) - News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch no longer plans to buy the rest of satellite broadcaster BSkyB and is setting his sights on investing in the United States rather than Britain.

In an interview with his company's FOX Business Network, the octogenarian media mogul spoke about the BSkyB stake and said Britain had lost its appeal for him and he was now keener to invest in a U.S. economy on steadier footing.

A phone-hacking scandal at its British tabloids engulfed News Corp last year, forcing it to eventually withdraw a $12 billion bid to buy the rest of the highly profitable satellite broadcaster that it did not already own.

"I think we have moved on in our own thinking from that," Murdoch said, shortly after an announcement that his media empire will be split into two companies focusing on print publishing and broadcasting.

"There were billions and billions of dollars and if Britain didn't want them, we have good places to put them here. I am much more bullish on America than I am about England."

The scandal tainted News Corp's British newspapers, which ranged from The Sun to the now-defunct News of the World. But Murdoch said his perspective had nothing to do with the scandal or its fallout.

"No, not at all. Just the English," he said, rousing laughter in the studio.

Murdoch said his confidence in the United States has a lot to do with its leadership.

"Of course it has a lot to do with who is in the White House," he said. "We will see if President Obama gets reelected - if he will turn left or be more pragmatic and come towards the center."

Murdoch also said he believes Europe is going to have a long "semi-recession, if not a real recession," but he hopes that it doesn't affect the United States with its "vast expansions of government expenditure."

(Reporting By Mauro Whiteman; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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