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Rupert Murdoch in 2012. Photo: Arthur Edwards/News International via Getty Images

Lobbyists for Rupert Murdoch's media companies are appealing to House Republicans to support antitrust bills meant to restrain Big Tech companies, sources tell Axios.

The big picture: Murdoch's media businesses have aggressively positioned themselves in opposition to the power of tech companies like Facebook and Google.

Between the lines: The antitrust bills, at least five of which are expected to be formally introduced soon, have been spearheaded by Democratic leadership on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee.

  • Fox Corp. and News Corp. lobbyists have been urging GOP members to support the bills this week, according to people familiar with the efforts, with two sources saying there could be as many as 3 to 4 GOP co-sponsors on each bill. Talks are ongoing and could shift before the bills get introduced.

Yes, but: Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who is ranking member of the Judiciary committee, may be a holdout.

  • Jordan's office has previously said the congressman is wary of Democrats' approach to antitrust.

Context: Historically, conservatives have been hostile to strong antitrust enforcement. But in the Trump era many Republicans, angered over what they saw as censorship by social media platforms, warmed to the idea of going after the tech giants.

By the numbers: Senate lobbying disclosures show News Corp. lobbied on competition issues in the first quarter of 2021, when it spent a total of $150,000 on all lobbying. Fox Corp., which spent $950,000 in the first quarter of 2021, lobbied on issues including Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Flashback: This is not the first time News Corp. has thrown its weight behind regulations aimed at tech companies. In Australia, Google and Facebook were forced to strike a deal with News Corp. to pay for content after aggressive lobbying from the newspaper giant.

Go deeper

Lawmakers ready antitrust bills to take on Big Tech

In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, House Impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) speaks on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Handout/Getty Images

Drafts of bills about tech competition and antitrust, likely to be introduced by leaders of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee soon, are circulating among Washington policy circles.

Why it matters: When the bills are formally introduced, it will be the next step in the subcommittee's antitrust investigation, which last year resulted in a sweeping report (along with a separate report from ranking antitrust member Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado) recommending changes to antitrust law to better keep up with the digital age.

48 mins ago - World

Putin denies Russia is behind cyberattacks ahead of Biden summit

In an exclusive interview with NBC's "Today," Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that Russia is waging cyber warfare against the United States and refused to guarantee opposition leader Alexei Navalny — whose name he would not say — will leave prison alive.

Why it matters: Cyberattacks by Russian intelligence and Russian-speaking criminal groups, as well as the Kremlin's attempted assassination and jailing of Navalny, are among the topics President Biden is expected to raise at his Geneva summit with Putin on Wednesday.

2 hours ago - Health

Novavax says COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective in Phase 3 trial

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Novavax, a Maryland biotechnology company, announced Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was 90.4% effective in its Phase 3 trial, including against coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The study of 29,960 participants in the U.S. and Mexico found the shot was safe and highly effective, paving the way for the FDA to clear a 4th vaccine for emergency use by the end of the year.