Rupert Murdoch was the one taking the bows last week when News Corp announced its intention to split into two entities: one housing its vibrant entertainment assets and another with its older publishing ones. But COO Chase Carey is getting much of the glory in the eyes of shareholders, even though he’ll keep the No. 2 job at the entertainment unit where Murdoch will be CEO and chairman; Murdoch also will be chairman of the publishing company, with a CEO to be named later. News Corp shares have jumped 12% in the week since the news first broke. That’s at least partly due to the perception that the arrangement will shift power from Murdoch to Carey. “In a perfect world we would have liked to see Chase Carey in the CEO role and Rupert move up to the chairman role,” a senior fund manager at Invesco — News Corp’s third-biggest investor — says today in the UK paper The Telegraph. Kevin Holt adds that “Chase Carey’s involvement in this company is very important to our ownership.”
His comment follows a report yesterday by Cowen and Co’s Doug Creutz who says that “While Rupert Murdoch ultimately was the person who had to approve the breakup, we believe that Chase Carey likely had a key role in moving the plan forward.” That’s important: Shareholders see Carey as an ally, but are wary of Murdoch’s passion for cutting strategically dubious deals including the $5.6B acquisition of Dow Jones in 2007. “To the extent that Carey continues to have an increasing role in charting the strategic course of the company, we are inclined to view (News Corp) shares more favorably, and believe the historical ‘Murdoch discount’ may be reduced,” Creutz says. RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank reached a similar conclusion last week saying that while “We (and many investors) had expected Chase Carey to be named CEO….the nature of the transaction itself indicates the level of Mr. Carey’s shareholder-friendly and value-driving influence on the overall direction of the company.”
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