Embattled Rupert Murdoch’s empire, News Corp. appears to be planning a spin-off of its core businesses.
Its own flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, has reported this week that the company’s board is considering a proposal that will make its publishing arm into a separate company.
Springhill Group Home analysts expect such separation of assets would appease regulators and could help it to avoid selling a USD 6.9 billion stake. Fortunately, the same became true for investors as the announcement was met with the rallying of News Corp’s stock to 8.3% high — the highest level it has reached since 2007.
“News Corp. has one of the best TV businesses, but some people like musty, dusty publishing companies that pay great dividends. It’s a good thing for shareholders.” said an analyst from Lazard Capital.
The media conglomerate has not yet specified which business units would be grouped together but the company is reportedly mulling to separate the entertainment operations from the book and newspaper publishing one.
News Corp’s publishing business brought in USD 8.8 billion in profit last year, accounting for about 7% of the company’s enterprise value or 24% of the revenues. This division includes a number of prominent newspapers (Times of London, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Australian and the Sun) and HarperCollins book publisher, all of which are valued for around USD 5 billion.
Meanwhile, its entertainment business is more profitable with revenues of USD 23.5 billion last year, accounting for around 75% of the firm’s profit and almost all of the operating revenue in the first half of the fiscal year. News Corp’s television and film business consists of the Fox News channel, Fox broadcasting network and 20th Century Fox film studio.
Experts are saying that the move to split the news and media operations from its more profitable film and TV businesses might be a good one, as the former has been marred by the phone-hacking scandal in UK and is continuously under pressure from failing advertising target revenues.
News Corp is retaining the investment banks Blair Ephron’s Centerview and Goldman Sachs in handling the process.