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“Now it’s official”: The Sun is ‘worthless asset’ after Murdoch writes down its value

Billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has written down The Sun newspapers’ value to zero.

The tabloid, which was key in developing his international media empire is now a worthless asset, the Financial Times has reported.

It comes after earlier this week, former Lib Dem MP Sir Simon Hughes received “substantial” damages from the newspaper’s publisher because his private information was unlawfully obtained.

On Friday, The Sun’s accounts revealed a bad pandemic hit on print advertising and circulation.

Bad outlook

Its turnover is said to have falled more than a fifth to £324 million in the financial year to June 2020.

As a result, News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of Murdoch’s NewsCorp that operates The Sun and The Sun on Sunday, has a pre-tax loss of £201m, even after cutting down on marketing and other costs. 

Print revenues, which have been key for the newspaper throughout the years, now face a challenging medium-term outlook.

This made the company write down the asset by £84 million, which led to The Sun brand with zero carrying value.

This value approximation is based on assumptions that the titles will not return to positive growth.

Last year, The Sun stopped being UK’s best-selling newspaper after more than four decades. Its circulation, which is no longer public, has fallen below 1 million daily copies on average.

The Daily Mail has instead taken the first place in the UK newspapers’ scene.

NewsUK said The Sun’s brands reach 36.5 million adults in the UK through their print and online products.

In its accounts, the company said The Sun’s website is still a “key growth area”, and added: “Our priority is to sustain our market-leading position as the number-one news brand in the UK by ensuring the proposition maintains its relevance for readers.

“While adverse changes caused by Covid-19 are expected to continue impacting the company’s performance in the fiscal year 2021, the rate and magnitude of the impacts should gradually slow.”

Reactions

One Twitter user said: “Always thinking of the time I saw a woman spill her coffee in Manchester Airport, pick up a copy of The Sun, look at me and say ‘this is all this is good for’ and mop up her coffee with it. Hope she’s having a lovely day today.”

Andrew Edwards said: “Always been a worthless rag, now it’s official”.

Ian Williams said: “‘Worthless asset’” – tell me something I don’t know, Rupert.”

“Could have told him it was worth f*** all decades ago,” another Twitter user said.

“Let’s be honest though the brand isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s too important a tool for Murdoch,” Chris Sutcliffe said.

NewsUK refused to comment.

Related: ‘Senior people’ at The Sun knew information was obtained illegally, says ex-MP

The Sun ‘did not ask Meghan investigator to act illegally’

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Andra Maciuca

Andra is a journalist interested in UK and EU affairs, EU citizens in the UK, ethical consumerism and corporate social responsibility. Got a story? Email andra@thelondoneconomic.com

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