London: Media magnate Rupert Murdoch is scheduled to arrive here on Sunday to deal with the phone- hacking crisis that threatens to jeopardise his media empire's commercial interests in Britain and elsewhere.

Amidst reports that share prices of News International, the main UK subsidiary of News Corporation, had fallen since the scandal snowballed into a major media and political issue, the company-owned tabloid at the centre of the row, 'News of the World' (NOTW), prepared to publish its last edition on Sunday.

The last edition is expected to have record sales with many booking advance copies with vendors as collectors items.
Murdoch's intervention comes as a third man was held on Friday night in connection with alleged corrupt payments made to police officers. The man was later bailed until October.

The police identified 4,000 possible targets, as officials also released on bail Andy Coulson, former editor of the tabloid and director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Sunday tabloid's former royal editor, Clive Goodman, was also questioned at a separate police station over claims that police officers were bribed.

The scandal has so far been dealt with by James Murdoch, son of the 80-year-old chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, but given the burgeoning dimensions of the issue, the senior Murdoch - who bough the NOTW in 1969 - is expected to arrive on Sunday.

The controversy has raised questions about the proposed takeover of satellite broadcaster BSkyB by Murdoch's News Corporation.

Britain's media regulator, Ofcom, is expected to decide whether the company is 'fit and proper' to take over BSkyB.
Ofcom has written to the chairman of the House of Commons culture committee highlighting its duty to ensure that anyone holding a broadcasting licence is a "fit and proper" person to do so.

Critics say that the phone-hacking scandal showed that the company's news gathering practice of hiring private investigators and allegedly bribing policemen for information did not pass the 'fit and proper' test.

The 168-year-old tabloid is accused of hacking into phones of crime victims, celebrities and politicians.

(Agencies)