Why Richard Desmond said he’d like to buy the Sun

This was an attempt to exploit the internal tensions within Murdoch’s media empire.

Richard Desmond has caused a bit of a stir this morning by turning up on the Today programme and announcing that he'd like to buy the Sun.

Asked by the interviewer, Nick Cosgrove, if he would like to buy the tabloid, the proprietor of the Daily Express and the Daily Star replied: "Work it out for yourself." Pressed on whether he had discussed a deal with Rupert Murdoch, Desmond was mute, saying only: "I talk to him about many things."

He added that his "highly profitable business" would run the red-top "in a different manner, which would be more efficient in today's marketplace".

Desmond's words should not be interpreted as a serious offer for the Sun. Rather, they were an attempt to exploit the internal tensions within News Corp over the future of the company.

Murdoch remains adamantly opposed to selling any newspaper, but his children, whom he is determined to see inherit his business, do not share this view. James Murdoch, who oversees the European and Asian corners of his father's empire, has consistently emphasised that television and entertainment are far more valuable to the company and that newspapers will play a smaller part in the future.

A recent rumour that Murdoch was planning to sell the unprofitable Times came to nothing, but it, too, highlighted how the tectonic plates are beginning to shift. Murdoch will laugh off Desmond's chutzpah, but his children will have carefully noted the offer.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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New Digital Editor: Serena Kutchinsky

The New Statesman appoints Serena Kutchinsky as Digital Editor.

Serena Kutchinsky is to join the New Statesman as digital editor in September. She will lead the expansion of the New Statesman across a variety of digital platforms.

Serena has over a decade of experience working in digital media and is currently the digital editor of Newsweek Europe. Since she joined the title, traffic to the website has increased by almost 250 per cent. Previously, Serena was the digital editor of Prospect magazine and also the assistant digital editor of the Sunday Times - part of the team which launched the Sunday Times website and tablet editions.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman editor, said: “Serena joins us at a great time for the New Statesman, and, building on the excellent work of recent years, she has just the skills and experience we need to help lead the next stage of our expansion as a print-digital hybrid.”

Serena Kutchinsky said: “I am delighted to be joining the New Statesman team and to have the opportunity to drive forward its digital strategy. The website is already established as the home of free-thinking journalism online in the UK and I look forward to leading our expansion and growing the global readership of this historic title.

In June, the New Statesman website recorded record traffic figures when more than four million unique users read more than 27 million pages. The circulation of the weekly magazine is growing steadily and now stands at 33,400, the highest it has been since the early 1980s.