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Rupert Murdoch steps down from boards

Rupert Murdoch

(CNN) – Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch has stepped down from a string of company boards of directors, according to a spokesman for News International, a British arm of News Corporation.

He made the move last week, said the spokesman, who played down its significance, calling it “nothing more than a corporate house-cleaning exercise prior to the company split.”

News Corp., a Murdoch-controlled media conglomerate, is expected to be divided in the next 12 months, separating its television and film operations from its print holdings, some of which have been at the center of a recent scandal.

Murdoch’s British operations have remained under intense scrutiny after revelations of widespread phone hacking by people working for his newspapers.

The scandal prompted News Corp. to shut down its venerable British tabloid News of the World last year.

The coming split would separate lucrative operations like 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel from newspapers and book publishing operations.

The conglomerate’s newspaper holdings include Britain’s The Sun, the London Times and the London Sunday Times. American media holdings include the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and Barron’s.

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