The entertainment unit of News Corp., which includes its Fox movie studio and television networks, may split off from its newspaper division, The New York Times’ Dealbook reports.
The publishing business would be separated from the company’s most profitable businesses, the piece points out. If it happens, the split might take the form of a corporate spinoff, creating a publishing company that would include The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, The Times of London and book publisher HarperCollins.
Rupert Murdoch is said to have recently "softened his opposition" to the idea, after rejecting such an idea in the past, according to the article.
The company today confirmed that it is contemplating the split. After reports of the possible move surfaced, News Corp. issued a one-sentence statement saying: “News Corporation confirmed today that it is considering a restructuring to separate its business into two distinct publicly traded companies.”
The Murdoch family would likely maintain control of the split businesses, The Times story adds.
While the idea is coming when News Corp. continues to deal with the hacking scandal that led to the closing of the British tabloid News of the World, the impetus for the potential split comes from a desire to improve shareholder value, the piece notes.
Many shareholders have expressed a desire for News Corp. to focus on its entertainment divisions, which generated $23.5 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ended June 2011, compared with $8.8 billion in sales for its publishing assets, the story says.