Monday, 23 July 2012

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, preparing to split his media empire into entertainment and publishing businesses, resigned as a director from a number of boards, including the company’s News International newspaper division in the U.K. 

“Last week, Mr. Murdoch stepped down from a number of boards, many of them small subsidiary boards, both in the U.K. and U.S.,” New York-based News Corp. said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “This is nothing more than a corporate housecleaning exercise prior to the company split.” 

In addition to resigning as a director of News International -- the publisher of the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun newspapers in the U.K. -- Murdoch left the boards of Newscorp Investments and Times Newspapers Holdings, according to U.K. regulatory filings. 

News Corp., facing shareholder pressure, announced plans last month to split into two publicly traded entities focused on publishing and entertainment. The publishing business will consist of newspapers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, as well as book, education and marketing assets, the company said at the time. The media and entertainment company will have film and TV assets. Murdoch is slated to be chairman of both entities and CEO of entertainment when the deal closes in about a year. 

The move followed a costly yearlong scandal at Murdoch’s newspaper operation, which is seen as a drag on the larger and growing film, broadcast and pay-television units. 

Voice-Mail Hacking 

The Guardian newspaper reported on July 4 of last year that journalists at the now-closed News of the World tabloid hacked into the voice-mail account of a murdered schoolgirl. The revelation disrupted News Corp.’s plans to take to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group, Britain’s biggest pay-TV operator. 

A U.K. committee, after probing whether News Corp. misled Parliament in the phone-hacking scandal, concluded in May that Murdoch is “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” Murdoch “exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications,” the House of Commons Culture Committee said in a report. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top.” 

Murdoch’s son James resigned as chairman of the News International division this year. James Murdochalso stepped down as chairman of BSkyB. 

Operating income at News Corp.’s publishing unit, which includes the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Times of London, dropped 32 percent from fiscal 2008 to 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A shift to the Web has cut industry advertising and circulation revenue, while News Corp.’s entertainment units, including Fox networks and the Twentieth Century Fox film studio, increased profit by 13 percent. 

No comments:

Post a Comment