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This Is Uncomfortable

Is News Corp. about to become News Corps?

Jeff Horwich Jun 26, 2012
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Jeff Horwich: Here’s what’s got the business world talking this morning: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is seriously considering splitting itself into two pieces — that’s according to The Wall Street Journal. In one publicly-traded company: News Corp.’s TV and movie businesses: like 20th Century Fox and Fox News. In the other, the newspapers, like the Wall Street Journal. John Jannarone is one of the Wall Street Journal reporters who broke the story. Hello John.

John Jannarone: Hi. How are you?

Horwich: Good, thank you. Why would News Corp. want to split up the empire this way?

Jannarone: Well, this idea is not new at all. In fact, the company has been considering it for a few years. I think the events of the last 12 months or so may have put a little pressure on Rupert Murdoch himself to consider this more seriously. But even before that, investors have for a long time been more interested in the television and cable assets than in the print asset.

Horwich: Why are investors more interested in the broadcast and film properties than in the papers?

Jannarone: If you look at advertising revenue for TV, it’s actually held up pretty well — the advertising in the Internet — but print has continued to be in decline. Now remember, it’s not as if the print assets are being sold. So, the transaction that we foresee happening would be a lot like a spinoff where you as a shareholder of News Corp. would wind up with an equivalent percentage in the new print company that you have in News Corp. as it exists now. But presumably there a lot of people who would sell shares in the other company. But that’s a little bit hard to speculate on. But we do know that Rupert Murdoch himself would probably retain control of both companies. So it’s not quite as if the company is being thrown out.

Horwich: John Jannarone with the Wall Street Journal, great to talk with you. Thank you.

Jannarone: You too. Thanks a lot.

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