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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The line between business and politics has vanished

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

"Stop writing about politics. I signed up for a business newsletter." I get that message, sometimes a lot of them, when this space's eyes wander toward Washington, D.C.

Why it matters: Years ago, it might have been a valid critique. Today, though, the line between business and politics has all but vanished.

FTC releases findings on how Big Tech eats little tech

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan signaled changes are on the way in how the agency scrutinizes acquisitions after revealing the results of a study of a decade's worth of Big Tech company deals that weren't reported to the agency.

Why it matters: Tech's business ecosystem is built on giant companies buying up small startups, but the message from the antitrust agency this week could chill mergers and acquisitions in the sector.

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."