The News Corp. split creates a print media giant



News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Media conglomerate News Corp. carried out the spin-off sought by many investors on Friday, creating the largest print media stock in the country.

The printing unit will keep the name News Corp (minus the period after Corp) when it starts trading on Monday. The company’s holdings include The Wall Street Journal , New York Post, the Times of London, tabloids in the UK and Australia, and book publisher Harper Collins.

The printing company will only have a fraction of the market value of the remaining media conglomerate which will now be known as 21st Century Fox. It will include the Fox Broadcast Network, Fox News, the soon-to-launch Fox Sports 1 cable sports channel, and Fox Film Studio. News Corp will keep the ticker NWS for enhanced voting stocks and NWSA for more commonly held stocks, while 21st Century Fox will have the tickers FOX and FOXA.

The companies trading this week on an issue date basis suggests that New News Corp will have a market value of around $ 9 billion, while 21st Century Fox will have a market value of $ 67.3 billion.

By most metrics – market value, annual revenue of about $ 8 billion, and a workforce of 24,000 – News Corp will be by far America’s largest print media company, larger than United States today editor Gannett Co. (GCI) and New York Times Co. (NYT) put together.

And he could get bigger. Published reports indicate that main shareholder Rupert Murdoch, who will be chairman of both companies, is interested in buying The Los Angeles Times of Tribune Co., which assesses the sale of some or all of its newspapers since coming out of bankruptcy last year.

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Shareholders of Current News Corp. will get one share in the new printing company for four shares they now own after close of business on Friday. The split was announced a year ago following the phone hacking scandal that forced the company to shut down World news, a tabloid that has had one of the biggest circulation in Britain.

“Shareholders have been asking for this for some time,” said Michael Corty, media analyst for Morningstar. “The investor base really owned News Corp. for entertainment assets. It was the World news scandal which seemed to ultimately precipitate the movement. ”

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Traditional print media have been besieged by the growth of new media, which has dramatically reduced their subscriber and advertising revenues.

But while investors and analysts have long argued that Murdoch’s love for mainstream print media is slowing down News Corp. (NWSA) stocks, print stocks have actually performed well this year. Gannett, New York Times and Washington Post Co. (WPO) are all up over 25%, easily outpacing the gains of the broader market.

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“I think it’s a good time to spin it,” Corty said. “This appears to be the way forward for the media industry,” he added, highlighting plans to Time warner (TWX) to create its Time Inc. magazine unit Time Warner is the parent company of CNNMoney.

While Murdoch will retain the title of CEO of 21st Century Fox, he will hand over the duties of CEO of the printing company to Robert Thomson, the editor of the Newspaper.

CNNMoney (New York) First published on June 28, 2013: 11:34 a.m.ET


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