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The Globe and Mail

News Corp. board approves splitting company: report

FILE- This Monday, Feb. 1, 2010, file photo, shows News Corp.'s headquarters in New York. Under pressure to limit contagion from the British phone hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. confirmed Tuesday, June 26, 2012, that it is considering splitting into two publicly traded companies.

Mark Lennihan/AP

News Corp.'s board of directors has approved a plan to divide its entertainment operations from its flagging publishing business, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Citing an unnamed source, the newspaper said the decision was made during a 90-minute meeting in New York Wednesday night. A formal announcement is expected on Thursday, it said.

News Corp.'s entertainment arm, which accounts for about 75 per cent of its revenue, includes 20th Century Fox film studio, the Fox broadcasting network and Fox News channel. Its less-lucrative publishing arm includes HarperCollins books, the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, the New York Post and the Australian.

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Mr. Murdoch, who was born in Australia and later moved to the United States, built his empire on newspapers and is widely-known for his love of the publishing industry.

The media magnate had initially opposed a split between the two operations, but his company faced growing pressure to do so from investors as some of its newspapers became embroiled in the British phone hacking scandal.

Many investors have thrown their support behind Chase Carey, the company's chief operating officer, to run the entertainment business, but it's less clear who would be in charge on the publishing side.

The division could help resolve concerns over the company's takeover bid of cable company BSkyB, which came under scrutiny during the Leveson inquiry. British regulator Ofcom is currently deciding whether Mr. Murdoch is "fit and proper" to obtain a broadcast license.

With a report from Reuters

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