Posted at 03:38 PM ET, 07/07/2011

Rupert Murdoch: A plan for News of the World all along?

Rupert Murdoch speaks during the e-G8 conference on May 24. (Bob Edme - AP)
The announcement that this Sunday will be the last issue of News of the World, the 168-year-old British tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., shocked the publication’s employees, readers, and those around the world who have been following the phone hacking scandal during the past week.

But information has now emerged that shows shuttering News of the World may have come not as a knee-jerk reaction but as part of a longer-term plan to integrate with the Sun, another Murdoch-owned publication.

BBC business editor Robert Peston had earlier said that some of the companies that pulled their advertising from the News of the World in reaction to the scandal had shifted it to its sister daily paper, the Sun.

Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International (a publisher owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. that publishes both the Sun and News of the World ), made a statement in June about a new managing editor structure that would integrate News Interational’s daily and Sunday titles, saying:

We will take a comprehensive look at where there is common ground across our titles and where we should remain unique.
Where there is common ground we will find ways of implementing efficiencies to editorial systems and processes and, where appropriate, we will find ways of introducing seven day working.

The integration of Sun and the News of the World included Richard Caseby, the current managing editor at the Sunday Times, who was appointed group managing editor with responsibility for both publications.

And on Thursday, the BBC reported that the Web addresses “” and “” were registered two days ago, although it is not known by whom.

News International has declined to comment on rumors that a Sunday edition of the Sun will be launched.

Many noted the possibility of the integration wryly on Twitter:

The sun are doing a seven days a week paper that is what i call a rebranding #notwless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

#NOTW closure looks like a stitch-up. It gets folded into the Sun, no hacking culprits lose jobs, biz as usual at News Corp. Pure wind.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

By  |  03:38 PM ET, 07/07/2011

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