The improbable coming true 

11 July 2011 tbs.pm/1269

Never has a week seemed like such a long time in news. Go back a month and if anyone had said that the News of the World would soon be no more and that News International would be fighting for its reputation and survival, you’d think they were mad and would be preparing to get the doctors with the straight jackets.

Yet today people are seriously suggesting that Murdoch may at very least sell off his UK newspaper operation in his attempt to get hold of BSkyB, whilst at the meantime there’s suggestions that the non-News International shareholders of BSkyB are thinking that now is not the time to sell. Hey, there’s even some people who have been saying that Murdoch may pull out of the UK entirely, or that Murdoch himself may be forced out of the very company he’s spent so long building up.

It sounds so far fetched, yet how much of the whole phone hacking scandal that has embroiled News International recently, has seemed similarly improbable?

Some things are certain though. By withdrawing the offer to spin off Sky News, Murdoch is trying to buy some time. It will now take about six months for the takeover bid to go through the Competition Commission.

That’s more than enough time to sound out potential buyers for his newspapers, meaning that by the time he’s told to flog something, a buyer has been found. It’s potentially even enough time for the worst of the phone hacking accusations to be revealed and the whole situation to have calmed down.

Or it might just backfire. Something even more bizarre, improbable and surprising may happen. So you might not be surprised to hear that I am going to make not a single prediction about what might happen about the BSkyB bid. Well except for one prediction. Whatever happens won’t be what we ever thought would happen when the whole BSkyB takeover thing started.