Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
UPDATE 11:20 PM: Australian investors reacted positively to the Wall Street Journal report about News Corp splitting in two, pushing up News’ stock price on the Australian Stock Exchange by 2.5% to $A20.81 in a depressed market in which all media stocks including News had dropped earlier in the day. Analysts said a split would be positive for the company as whole although they warned some investors may want to sell out of the publishing company to focus on the much bigger and more profitable film and entertainment company. Some analysts value the publishing division as worth just 7% of the empire and estimate that it contributes around 10% of earnings before interest and tax. One analyst told Deadline there had been recurring speculation about a split or demerger of the publishing interests for some months and investors were reacting to the Journal’s report that Rupert Murdoch is warming to the idea. The analyst suggested News might want to “tidy up” the publishing side of the business after News’ difficulties in the UK with the Leveson inquiry.
PREVIOUS: News Corp is considering splitting into two companies, separating its film and and television businesses from its publishing assets, the Wall Street Journal reports. Citing people familiar with the situation, the Journal says News Corp’s film and TV businesses, including 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcast network and Fox News channel would separate from its newspapers, book publishing assets and education businesses. A final decision on the split hasn’t been made. News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch has previously opposed such a move. The Journal says people familiar with the situation have discussed the idea internally for several years. Reports of the News Corp restructuring in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the company’s British newspaper operations.