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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 12:21 GMT
Business overtaxed, Murdoch says
Rupert Murdoch talks on BBC Radio Five Live
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Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corporation, has revealed his frustrations doing business in the UK.

He told BBC Radio Five Live that the UK was "overtaxed", and that business was suffering as a result.

He added that business was "over regulated" with the government "micro managing" and wanting to run industry.

The Murdoch empire includes newspapers, and radio and TV stations in the US, UK and Australia, as well as cable and satellite operations around the world.

'Tough year'

However, he spoke warmly of Chancellor Gordon Brown, expected to succeed Tony Blair as prime minister at some time in the future, saying: "I like Gordon very much and I share a lot of his values. The Calvinist background I guess ... he does seem to believe in the work ethic."

Mr Murdoch said the UK was "very important" for him and his companies, even though the cost of doing business "keeps going up".

It does seem here that people not only regulate, they actually want to run industries
Rupert Murdoch

He added: "I do believe that the country is certainly overtaxed and I think that business is suffering; I think this year is going to be a very tough year.

"We certainly find in the newspaper business that it's more challenging, I think, than it's ever been."

He went on to say that the growth rate in Australia and the US was higher than in the UK and that "business is better there".

"It does seem here that people not only regulate, they actually want to run industries and there's a sort of micro-management philosophy, it seems, from this government."

He said if the Conservatives under David Cameron were to be successful they had to "shrink taxation in many ways to get better awards for people who are prepared to risk everything".

'Internet beginning'

In the late 1990s, Mr Murdoch made a series of unsuccessful moves to buy internet firms, but has since tuned his eyes again to the web, snapping up companies and predicting a rosy future online.

"The internet is just beginning," he said.

The internet was still in its infancy, he suggested, with only a fraction of the world's population able to access broadband.

You'll be able to... have a tablet beside your bed, you subscribe to the paper and it'll come there wirelessly
Rupert Murdoch

"In 20 years time, everybody in the world is going to be able to get broadband and express themselves on it, and you know it will be a vast market for successful creators of popular content," he added.

"We started sites for all our newspapers, for our sports services, and you'll see great changes in those sites over the next few months."

He also said that the purchase of community website Myspace had been a great success.

In further forward-looking statements, he conjured a visionary future for newspaper and news consumption.

"I'm sure it will still be available on paper, it won't happen that fast but you'll be able to, for instance, have a tablet beside your bed, you subscribe to the paper and it'll come there wirelessly, and you've got to pick it up and read every page of the paper on an electronic or battery-driven tablet."

People could read the paper in that way or in the more "old fashioned" way, he said.

'Poison pill'

Meanwhile Mr Murdoch said his relationship with US businessman John Malone, who owns 18% of News Corporation, was good and that the pair were friends.

He said that the only reason a "poison pill" defence - a device which makes takeovers difficult - had been brought in, was to stop people taking over the company "surreptitiously".

"What it means is they have to come to the front door and talk to the board and say we'd like to take you over, what's the right price?

"They can't sneak up on you and suddenly say here we are, we've got a controlling block."

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