By Shane McGinley
News Corp, which is part-owned by Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding, launched a regional version of the newspaper in 2007
British newspapers The Times and The Sunday Times, which are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, last week stopped printing of their Middle East editions.
"The Times and The Sunday Times are no longer being printed in the Middle East purely for commercial reasons," a London spokesperson for The Times told Arabian Business.
Founded in London in 1788, The Times and The Sunday Times began printing in the Middle East in 2007, under an exclusive licencing agreement with SAB Media, which has offices in Dubai, Jeddah and Cairo and is a subsidiary of Saudi conglomerate SAB Holding.
The newspapers were published seven days a week and were available in retail outlets or by subscription. The international editions were edited in London and printed in the UAE.
According to its website, SAB Media said the newspapers had a circulation of more than 10,000 copies and it had plans to expand their distribution to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
An operator at Abu Dhabi Media, which managed subscription services for the two titles, confirmed to Arabian Business the newspapers had stopped printing last week due to “unforeseen circumstances” and subscribers should contact it on +971 4 364 2897 for details about possible refunds.
SAB Media has been contacted for comment.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp bought Times Newspapers Limited, publisher of both newspapers, in 1981.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding has been an investor in News Corp since 1997.
Bloomberg reported in February last year Kingdom Holding sold a stake worth almost $190 million in News Corp., reducing its holding in the company from 6.6 percent to around 1 percent.
Alwaleed had previously been the second-largest voting shareholder of voting stock in News Corp and was believed to be a staunch alley of Murdoch.
News Corp also owns the Wall Street Journal and New York Post newspapers in the US and The Sun tabloid in the UK. It's News of the World Sunday tabloid was shut down in July 2011 as a result of allegations of phone hacking by its journalists.
The Sunday Times has not been available for 3 Sundays now (incl today) and we know the reasons, and they are NOT commercial.
I for one, am very disappointed, as I bought it regularly every Sunday and read it 'word for word', 'page by page' throughout the following week. It was one of the very few 'real' newspapers available here!