News Corp.'s attempt to buy the remaining 60 percent of British Sky Broadcasting that it doesn't own has been at least disrupted by an e-mail that shows the possibility a company lobbyist and Britain's cultural minister conspired to get the $12 billion deal done, the Times said.
The deal would be a strong asset for News Corp., given it made $1.7 billion in profits in 2011.
Similarly, a deal to buy Sabah-ATV -- a media firm valued at up to $1 billion -- would have added to News Corp.'s stable of pay TV stations.
However, given the scandal of reporters hacking phones and computers for stories in Britain, the company is "persona non grata right now as a bidder on assets," a source told the Times.
In addition, an accusation of bribes in Russia could result in billions of dollars in fines, the Times reported.
The case involves News Outdoor Russia, a billboard company formerly owned by News Corp., that is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for possibly bribing officials to further its agenda in Russia.
Those allegations would fall under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which regulatory attorney Behnam Dayanim said "may be the single most feared corporate criminal statute out there today."