Despite previous reservations by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, the company is contemplating a split of their news and film assets from their print publication and newspaper divisions.
Currently News Corp owns 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcast network and Fox News channel, in the way of television and film. As far as newspaper and print media goes, they own the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, the Australian newspaper, HarperCollins book publishing, and more.
The split would leave the print media business considerably smaller than the film and TV side of things. The decision to reorganize assets comes just after a scandal involving phone-hacking at the company’s British newspaper operations.
The phone-hacking scandal resulted in the closing of News of the World tabloid and the resignation of several senior executives. News Corp. also decided to back out on a bid for shares in British Sky Broadcasting, a UK satellite television operator. Before the scandal, James Murdoch was chairman at the satellite operator, but resigned his position in the wake of controversy.
While Rupert is a very big fan of the newspaper and print business, News Corp.’s focus on television and film dates back over 25 years, and nearly 90% of their current profit and revenue comes from that end of the business. It’s a change investors would welcome.
No decisions have been made yet, but a split makes sense financially, and it distances the print media problems from the film and television money-maker. We will keep you informed as News Corp. moves towards a restructuring decision.