Rupert Murdoch Addresses News Corp. Split

 

Rupert Murdoch says he is "extremely excited" about plans to split News Corp's publishing businesses from its higher-growth entertainment assets.

The media mogul issued a memo on Thursday following the official news that his company is splitting up with Murdoch remaining chairman of both entitities and CEO of the entertainment business. (A publishing CEO is expected to be named later.)

"I am extremely excited by this big change. It is a testimony to our entrepreneurial spirit and determination to educate, inspire and entertain millions of families across the globe," said Murdoch.

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As previously reported, Chase Carey will remain president and COO. Tuesday's announcement didn't mention son James Murdoch, who has served as deputy COO at News Corp.

Here's the breakdown: News Corp.'s film and TV businesses, including the Fox studio, Fox broadcast network, Fox News and other cable networks, would be part of one entity along with News Corp.'s 39 percent stake in U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB.

Meanwhile, the corporation's U.S., U.K. and Australian newspapers, book publishing unit HarperCollins and education business would be brought together in a separate company. Key assets in that group will be Dow Jones, including flagship Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and The Sun tabloid, part of News International in the U.K., which has been at the center of the phone hacking scandal.

"That very size and breadth has created an opportunity to separate News Corporation into two global leaders in their own right -- we will wow the world as two, as opposed to merely one," he said in his note. "I believe our leadership is born out of a spirit of innovation. We have never accepted the status quo. We have always been driven by the belief that we can do better -- deliver a better product for our audiences and provide better performing businesses for our shareholders."

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He added: "Our success has come from our speed, flexibility and creativity in responding to changing markets, in combination with our commitment to serving our customers’ needs."

The Murdoch family is expected to retain its 40 percent stake in both companies, which are expected to be separated next year.

Analysts have suggested that elder son Lachlan Murdoch could return to the family business to helm the publishing business. Other names mentioned: Tom Mockridge, who is the CEO of U.K. newspaper unit News International, and News Corp. executive vp Joel Klein.

In its announcement, News Corp. said it will assemble management teams and board members in the ensuing months.

"Over the years, I have become accustomed to the noise of critics and naysayers...and pretty thick-skinned! Remember what they said when we started the Fox Network, Sky, Fox News and The Sun? These experiences have made me more resilient," said Murdoch, towing the company line.

"And they should you, as well. And time and time again, we persevered, creating new businesses, new products, telling new stories, informing and educating the public in new ways -- and giving jobs to thousands more people," he added.

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