Meeting halfway: Rupert and James Murdoch Photo: Ben Gurr/AFP
Rupert Murdoch threatened to fire his son James unless he moved to News Corp's home city of New York, during a meeting to restore their relationship in the wake of the British phone-hacking scandal.
The revelation comes in the book Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up With Rupert Murdoch, which is written by Guardian investigative reporter Nick Davies. Davies exposed the phone-hacking at News Corp's newspaper arm, of which James Murdoch was chairman. The saga has cost News Corp $US551 million ($590.6 million) in legal and professional fees over the three years to June 2014, its recent preliminary final report stated.
The book says an attempt to repair the relationship between a father and son "effectively at war" resulted in an ultimatum by Murdoch senior, and James eventually being given the title of deputy chief operating officer and moving from London to the US.
But advisers first needed to find a setting for the detente: Rupert Murdoch wanted it to be held in New York; James was pushing for London.
"The advisers moved in like a flock of nannies dealing with kids fighting over a toy and are said to have finally succeeded in persuading the two to meet in the middle – literally in the middle, of the Atlantic. In the Azores," the book states.
"So it was, according to two sources, that the old man and the pretender flew in to the remote islands from their respective encampments, and the old mogul took charge and dictated his terms: 'You are coming to New York. Nobody else is going to run Europe and Asia because it's being disbanded. And if you don't agree, you're fired.' "
According to the book, James decided he had "overplayed his hand and agreed to be simultaneously promoted and brought to heel, accepting that in the following year, he would given the new title of deputy chief operating officer and that he would move to his father's side in Manhattan".
A spokesman for Mr Murdoch was contacted for comment.