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Rupert Murdoch was willing to close a market-leading newspaper to save his British business, but it did not work. Might he now need to sacrifice his whole British operation to rescue his global media empire?

The News of the World had become more trouble than it was worth. Once major companies such as Asda, Boots and Sainsbury’s cancelled their advertising, a publication that had previously made £5m-£10m a year looked like becoming a loss-maker.

The fear was that opposition to Murdoch’s business would spread to his other operations. While the hacking allegations escalated and politicians denounced News International, judges started…

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