News Corp considering newspaper spin-off plans

News Corp has confirmed that is considering splitting into two companies by separating its newspaper and publishing business from its entertainment assets.

The claim was first reported by News Corp title the Wall Street Journal but were later confirmed in a company statement that said: “News Corporation confirmed today that it is considering a restructuring to separate its business into two distinct publicly traded companies.”

The WSJ reported that the split would separate its newspaper arm – which includes The Sun and The Times newspapers in the UK, and the Wall Street Journal in the US – from its film and television businesses, which include 20th Century Fox and the Fox News channel.

The WSJ said: ‘A final decision on the split hasn’t been made. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has previously opposed such a move, which has been discussed internally for several years, say people familiar with the situation.

‘Mr Murdoch has recently warmed to the idea, said one person familiar with the situation.

‘The idea under consideration isn’t expected to change the Murdoch family’s effective control of any of the businesses, exercised through the family’s roughly 40 per cent voting stake in News Corp.

The company’s publishing business, which includes book publisher HarperCollins, accounted for just one tenth of operating profit in the three months to March 31 this year.

The accounts state that total operating income (profit) for the period was $1,312m of which $130m came from publishing. Cable Network Programming was the most profitable division contibuting $846m, follow by Filmed Entertainment on $272m and TV on $171m.

News Corp‘s 39 per cent stake in BSkyB provided it with net earnings $262m in the same period.

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