Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid to drop Page 3 topless model, Guardian Says

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Readers of The Sun may no longer be confronted by photos of a woman's bare breasts when opening the tabloid on a weekday morning, The Guardian newspaper reported.

The Sun, purchased by News Corp's Mr Rupert Murdoch in 1969, introduced the controversial feature less than a year later. The newspaper decided to replace the staple with an image of a woman in bra and pants, the Guardian said, citing people it didn't identify.

The tabloid has a circulation of 1,892,207, according to the Newsworks website. The Sun plans to introduce the change without fanfare, retaining the option to reverse the decision if sales of the 50-year-old publication dipped, according to The Guardian.

The topless Page 3 model, introduced in 1970, has spurred intermittent criticism. "Take The Bare Boobs Out Of The Sun", an online petition addressed to the newspaper's editor, Mr David Dinsmore, attracted more than 217,000 signatures.

Press officers for the tabloid weren't immediately available for comment.