News Corp is considering splitting up its publishing and entertainment assets into two separate companies, according a Wall Street Journal report.
The News Corp-owned newspaper said that although a final decision was yet to be made, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch was now backing the idea, after opposing it during internal discussions over recent years.
The move would separate the film and TV business, which provides the lion’s share of News Corp’s revenues and includes the Fox channel and 20th Century Fox film studio, from its publishing arm. The latter includes newspapers The Wall Street Journal, the Australian and the UK’s The Times and The Sun.
The news comes in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that last year derailed News Corp’s efforts to buy the 60.9% of UK satcaster BSkyB that it doesn’t already own. The scandal also prompted News Corp to close down its UK paper the News of the World, before replacing it with a Sunday edition of The Sun earlier this year.
UK broadcast regulator Ofcom is currently investigating whether Sky is ‘fit and proper’ to own a broadcast licence, following the scandal. One possible outcome of a decision against Sky would be News Corp having to significantly reduce its 39.1% stake in the satcaster.
Last month News Corp’s chief operating officer Chase Carey said: “We have no expectation to sell the Sky stake at this time.”
UPDATE: The company has now confirmed the WSJ report, issuing a brief statement saying, “News Corporation confirmed today that it is considering a restructuring to separate its business into two distinct publicly traded companies.”