I could have run the same headline almost every day this month. The media giant has been on a tear, surpassing prices that it hasn’t seen since February 2007. News Corp closed today at $27.90, up 0.4% from yesterday — and +9.4% since New Year’s Day, a period when the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 5.3%. Why so much enthusiasm? Many investors are excited by the planned spin off of the newspaper properties, which usually offset profits generated by the cable networks and entertainment assets. The Street’s also intrigued to see CEO Rupert Murdoch making deals again. They liked the one in November to buy 49% of the New York Yankees’ YES Network, as well as the talk about Fox mobilizing its sports properties to create two national sports channels. With the newspaper properties going, there’s less fear that he’ll stick Fox with a deal they’ll hate — like his $5B purchase of Dow Jones in 2007. He also needs to do something with the cash he had amassed to buy the stake in BSkyB that he doesn’t already own. That initiative was scuttled last year in the wake of the UK hacking and bribery scandals. This month, News Corp stock has been upgraded by Bernstein Research (to outperform from market perform) and Morgan Stanley (to overweight from equal weight).
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