News Corp to sell News of the World site

Features Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - News International, the British newspaper wing of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, has put its Wapping home up for sale, abandoning a plan to remodel the 15-acre site in east London that was home to the News of the World newspaper.

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"The majority of News International's Wapping-based editorial and commercial staff have now relocated into Thomas More Square with the remainder to be relocated by the end of 2011," the company said on Monday.

"As a result, and in light of current market conditions, News International has decided not to proceed with remodeling the Wapping site."

The company has tried before to sell the site, which will have risen steeply in value since Murdoch bought it in the 1980s. It abandoned its last attempt in 2008, saying it would move staff from other offices to a remodeled Wapping site. The rumored price tag was about 200 million pounds ($324 million).

In 1986, thousands of demonstrators clashed with police at the site as part of protests against Murdoch's move to shift his news operations out of Fleet Street.

The move, which saw Murdoch introduce electronic production techniques requiring fewer staff, triggered the dismissal of thousands of workers.

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The site is home to The Times and Sunday Times newspapers.

(Reporting by Tom Bill)