Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International and editor of the Sun, has re-emerged from the phone hacking scandal as a News Corp dealmaker.
Ms Brooks, who was last year acquitted on charges of phone hackingand making corrupt payments to public officials, is working on the potential acquisition by News Corp of a London-based advertising technology start-up, finance sources have revealed.
It marks a return to action for the 47-year-old, who was forced to to resign as the top executive at Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers in 2011 as they were engulfed by allegations of widespread criminality.
A source with knowledge of the deal Ms Brooks is working on for News Corp said she was using her maiden name, Wade, in an apparent attempt to avoid attracting unwanted attention. The multimillion-pound acquisition target is a venture capital-backed provider of technology to advertisers and publishers that aims to make online advertising less intrusive and more effective for premium brands.
News Corp has been seeking bolt-on businesses to bolster its digital publishing efforts.
Speculation has surrounded Ms Brooks’ return to business life. News Corp confirmed last autumn that she had visited Mr Murdoch at its New York headquarters as she “explores and considers her professional future”.
She was cleared of all charges in June following a trial alongside Andy Coulson. The former News of the World editor and communications chief for David Cameron was found guilty of phone hacking and sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to hack phones.
Confirmation Ms Brooks is operating in the background for News Corp will fuel speculation that she could eventually take a more high profile role. News UK, formerly News International, is expected to announce an executive shake-up later this year that could provide an opportunity for her to step out of the shadows, industry sources suggested.
A News Corp spokesman said: “We don’t comment on rumours and speculation.”