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News International Now Controls Sun On Sunday Domain Names

Rupert Murdoch

First Posted: 07/12/11 10:50 AM ET Updated: 09/11/11 06:12 AM ET

NEW YORK - Will the Sun rise on Sunday?

News International, the embattled British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. empire, assumed control on Monday of web domain names that suggest the company may try publishing the Sun newspaper on Sundays.

Shortly after News International Chairman James Murdoch announced the abrupt closure of the News of the World in response to the ongoing phone-hacking scandal on Thursday, it was revealed that a company called Mediaspring had registered the domain names thesunonsunday.co.uk and sunonsunday.co.uk two days earlier. So speculation grew that a Sunday edition of the Sun could essentially replace News of the World, the best-selling Sunday paper in the U.K.

News International wouldn't confirm Thursday that someone within the company registered the domains or comment on whether the new domains would be for a future Sunday tabloid to replace News of the World, the paper at the center of a growing scandal that threatens News Corp.'s $12 billion takeover over satellite broadcaster BSkyB and top executives on both sides of the Atlantic. (Find out about the latest details here)

But on Monday, News International Newspapers Limited took control of the domains, according to a WhoIs record search.

A News International spokesperson did not respond for comment.

While the domain name suggests that a Sunday Sun is possible down the line, now probably isn't the best time to launch another newspaper edition.

News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who oversaw News of the World during the phone hacking, is still under pressure to resign. And in the past day, the scandal has widened to include other Murdoch papers, including the Sunday Times and Sun.

Jittery News Corp. shareholders watching market share plummet by the billions may push Rupert Murdoch to sell off his beloved British newspapers instead of pushing more money and resources into them.

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