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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is close to buying Ziff Davis, the The Observer says. According to business editor Emily Bell, News Corp is this weekend doing necessary due diligence checks, as all or a part of the $1.5 billion ZD empire may be bought. According to The Observer, an acquisition would help tie together Murdoch's relationship with ZD owner, Japanese giant Softbank. On Monday, ZD officially denied The Observer story. ZD's owner, Softbank, put up the print interests of computer publishing giant for sale a few months back. It's unclear whether any sale would include ZDNet, the jewel in the Ziff Davis crown. Murdoch recently expressed an interest in building an Internet empire, after earlier discounting online as a viable medium. These are not the first rumours of a ZD sale to emerge. For several weeks, the scuttlebutt centred around CNet, a $4 billion US outfit that owns News.Com, as the suitor lined up to take ZD. ®

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