Arab Today, arab today news corp mulls media entertainment unit split
Last Updated : GMT 18:30:25
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

News Corp mulls media, entertainment unit split

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today News Corp mulls media, entertainment unit split

New York - AFP

Rupert Murdoch\'s News Corp said Tuesday it was \"considering a restructuring\" that would split off its larger entertainment division from the struggling publishing businesses. The New York-based company confirmed reports earlier in the day and said the move would \"separate its business into two distinct publicly traded companies.\" The statement followed a report in the Wall Street Journal, one of the units of the global media-entertainment conglomerate, on the possible move. News Corp shares jumped 6.3 percent in New York to $21.56 on the news. Analysts said the move would separate the profitable film and television businesses from the news and media operations which have been tainted by the phone-hacking scandal in Britain. The carve-out would likely lead to one unit including 20th Century Fox movie studio, Fox broadcast network and Fox News channel, competing more directly against Disney, Time Warner and Comcast, which controls NBC Universal. The company\'s publishing assets include The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, the Times of London and The Australian newspaper, as well as the HarperCollins book publishing house. The Wall Street Journal report said the plan, if implemented, was not expected to change the Murdoch clan\'s effective control of any of the businesses, exercised through the family\'s roughly 40 percent voting stake in News Corp. The possible restructuring follows the phone-hacking scandal in Britain that resulted in the closure of its flagship News of the World tabloid and the resignation of several senior executives. In March, company president Chase Carey, seen as Murdoch\'s likely successor, acknowledged that some shareholders had talked to the company about spinning off the newspaper arm, but said it was \"not a path we are pursuing.\" Analyst Anthony DiClemente at Barclays said the publishing arm accounts for just seven percent of the value of the company and that a split could be positive. \"In our view, a spin-off would reduce the holding company discount in the stock and would allow investors to own a higher growth business without the slower growth publishing business and its associated liabilities,\" he said in a research note. But he added that it \"is unclear if spinning off the publishing business would ring-fence liabilities associated with the ongoing hacking investigation\" or allow the group to carry out its plan for a full takeover of satellite broadcaster BSkyB, in which News Corp has a 39 percent stake. \"It could make it easier for News Corp to try and acquire the public (BSkyB) stake at a latter date (but) we think common controlled ownership of both entities by the Murdoch family will remain an obstacle,\" the analyst said. David Joyce at Miller Tabak said that the spin-off could take a year, but that it \"would help Chase Carey focus on the entertainment assets and not be distracted by the lingering phone hacking scandal in the UK.\" In the most recent quarter ended March 31, News Corp profit was up 47 percent to $937 million, as revenues rose two percent to $8.4 billion. Cable operations and entertainment accounted for much of the profit. The company said revenues were hurt by advertising declines at the Australian and British newspapers, as well as the closing of The News of the World. For the fiscal year ended in June 2011, television and entertainment produced revenues of $23.5 billion, and publishing some $8.8 billion.

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