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Prince Alwaleed backs James Murdoch to take News Corp top job

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family, has publicly backed James Murdoch to succeed Rupert Murdoch at News Corp when Rupert finally decides to step aside.

In an interview with on an American talk show Alwaleed said: "If he doesn't appoint him I will be the first one to nominate him to be the successor of Mr Rupert Murdoch, God forbid if something should happen to him.

"He's really Rupert Murdoch in the making, and he's almost there now," Alwaleed continued. Alwaleed's family company, Kingdom Holdings, owns a 7% share in News Corp but this does not entitle them to a seat on the board.

Speculation over who will succeed the 78-year-old media tycoon as head of his empire is common and last year Murdoch reiterated his desire for one of his children to succeed him. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

James (pictured) emerged as the frontrunner when he was promoted to managing News Corp's European and Asian operations in 2007. (Click here to read our coverage of the story) Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert's eldest son, was also viewed as a potential successor however he left his position as chief operating officer in 2005 to start his own media company Illyria.

Rupert Murdoch began building his media empire in 1953 with the Adelaide News. The company now owns the Twentieth Century Fox film studio, US newspaper the Wall Street Journal and the UK-daily The Times, along with various other assets and had 2008/2009 revenues of $30 billion. 

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