Never underestimate Rupert Murdoch for unusually for media magnates he always thinks long term.
He knew his stable of newspapers - The Times (a goodly read), The Sunday Times (tired and in desperate need of a complete overhaul) and The seven day Sun - were struggling.
In contrast, BSkyB was a licence to print money. The plan must have been that once he has secured all the other shares for BSkyB to merge the two operations. This way he would have been able to bring the much stronger management team at BSkyB to run the newspapers and in the process save £millions, increase his share price and bring about the first fully fledged integrated television, newspaper and online company. Imagine James Murdoch as chairman and (say) Adam Boulton as the new CEO: a dream scenario.
Today these plans are in tatters and it may take Rupert a decade to return to this scenario by which time he may no longer be with us.
A new Communication Act is due to be announced in the Queen's Speech. What price in the current climate for it to announce that all UK media should be owned by UK citizens.....this is the moment.