London — The Times of London and its sister paper, the Sunday Times, will soon be the properly of Rupert Murdoch. Ownership of the two famous though trouble-plagued papers, along with three high-quality supplements, was offered to the Australian news magnate by the Thomson newspaper organization, which had decided to end publication in March if a suitable buyer could not be found. Times journalists had made a bid for their paper, as had Sunday Times journalists for theirs. But Thomson was looking for one buyer for the entire group.
If his bid for ownership is acceptable to the British government, correspondent Alexander Macleod writes, Mr. Murdoch will be under heavy pressure to maintain the editorial quality of his new properties. But the present editor of the Times, William Rees-Mogg, has already said he does not wish to continue in his job after a change of ownership. If and when the Murdoch bid is finally approved, extensive changes in the editorial staffing of all papers in the group are expected.
In England, Mr. Murdoch already owns the Sun and News of the World, both manifestly popular papers, and in the United States, the New York Post, which he has moved firmly downmarket. In his native Australia Mr. Murdoch has a mixed reputation as a proprietor. He owns the Australia, which aspires for quality as a daily paper, but he also operates extensively in the field of tabloid journalism.