News Corp. Publishing to launch with $2.6 billion


News CorporationNews Corp.’s publishing spinoff, set to become a separate publicly held business in June, will start out with $2.6 billion in cash after receiving a $1.82 billion infusion from the parent company.

The publishing business, which includes the Wall Street Journal in the U.S. and the Sun newspaper in the U.K., will have $18.6 billion in total assets, News Corp. said in a filing.

“The new News Corporation’s strong balance sheet will provide the Company with full financial flexibility to pursue its strategic agenda, which is to further develop and expand the power of its market-leading brands over a myriad of platforms,” said Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp. “We believe the new News Corporation’s strong balance sheet, along with its diversified revenue base, will be key competitive assets that will allow the company to lead in innovation and the creation of long term shareholder value.”

Murdoch is breaking off the division from the company’s entertainment operations, which will be called the Fox Group Inc. News Corp. agreed to the spinoff last year to focus on its more valuable Fox television and film businesses.

Dow Jones editor-in-chief and Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson will become the CEO of the new publishing entity. The publishing company would be the smaller of the two companies, being separated from 20th Century Fox studio and Fox’s television networks. But it would still have major brands, such as The New Wall Street Journal, NY York Post and News Corp.’s education division.

Murdoch will serve as Chairman of the new News Corporation and Chairman and CEO of Fox Group. Chase Carey will serve as President and COO of Fox Group, with James Murdoch continuing in his capacity as Deputy Chief Operating Officer. Under their collective leadership, Fox Group will continue to strengthen its creative content businesses and distribution assets, including enhancing its sports portfolio through key investments in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

For publishing leadership, under Thomson, Bedi Ajay Singh will take the role of CFO; Paul Cheesbrough will retain his role as CTO; and Gerson Zweifach will serve as General Counsel of Fox Group, and for a period of one year following the separation, also of the new News Corp.

Gerard Baker, currently Deputy Editor in Chief of The Wall Street Journal, succeeded Robert Thomson as Editor in Chief of Dow Jones and Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal. Jesse Angelo, the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Daily and long-time Executive Editor of The New York Post, assumed the role of Publisher of The New York Post.

“This is an incredibly exciting time, for me personally, and for our companies’ ambitious futures,” said Murdoch. “The challenges we face in the publishing and media industries are great, but the opportunities are greater. Under Robert’s leadership at News Corporation, we will build on our traditional mission to inform, entertain and enhance the lives of readers and viewers around the world, and relentlessly drive global growth by promoting excellence and investing in our businesses.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s a great move for the company—the phone hacking incidents need not bring down the value or confidence in the studio and television side (Fox Group), especially here in the U.S. Clearly, separate the two and Murdoch and his staff will also gain a better focus on each. The NY Post and Wall Street Journal are both strong enough to bring success to the remaining News Corp. entity as well.