News Corp.: Rough and tumble times

THR's 2008 corporate scorecards

THR rating: 2 out of 5

If nothing else, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch can look back on an action-packed year. The conglomerate reduced its stakes in DirecTV and TV technology provider NDS while stocking up on growth businesses by taking control of a mobile joint venture with VeriSign and acquiring more than 25% of German pay TV company Premiere. News Corp. also restructured management at Dow Jones after its acquisition late last year.

In the new year, expect a decision from News Corp. on whether to boost its Premiere stake. Plus, Murdoch said he is considering acquiring more subscription-driven companies during the current recession.

Through the end of September, News Corp.'s broadcast and film units saw revenue and profit trend down compared with the year-ago period, while its cable networks division saw another period of strong gains.

The recession and negative view of newspapers from Wall Street have pummeled News Corp. shares, leaving them down 56% at $9.31 as of Monday.

Entering 2009, News Corp. continues to negotiate with

president and COO Peter Chernin about a contract extension.

In November, Murdoch signed another long-time lieutenant to a new five-year contract, ensuring that Roger Ailes will continue as chairman and CEO of Fox News and as chairman of the Fox Television Stations.

Top performers

Films (domestic gross in millions)
"Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" ($154.5)
"What Happens in Vegas"($80.4)
"Jumper" ($80.2)

"Alvin and the Chipmunks"
"Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!"

Fox shows
"American Idol" (Tuesday)
"American Idol" (Wednesday)

Click for scorecards: Time Warner | News Corp. | Viacom | CBS Corp. | Disney | Sony | NBC Universal