WASHINGTON — News Corp. on Friday filed for the anticipated spinoff of part of its U.S. film, television and sports businesses, a move that could help Chairman Rupert Murdoch boost his company's market value.
News Corp., the world's fifth-largest media company, said in late June that it planned to sell as much as 20% of Fox Entertainment Group Inc. to the public.
Fox Entertainment's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission didn't disclose how much it hoped to raise in the stock sale. Analysts, though, have estimated it could reach $3.5 billion, which could make it the biggest initial stock offering in U.S. history.
Fox Entertainment owns the Fox television network, the 20th Century Fox movie studio, 22 TV stations, interests in five pay-cable TV networks, the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and other assets. Murdoch wants to unlock the value of these U.S. media assets by separating them from his slower-growing newspaper and publishing businesses and his European and Asian satellite broadcasting interests.
Just how much Murdoch hopes to get by selling a stake in Fox Entertainment will remain a secret until the company updates its SEC filing. The registration statement filed Friday included only a nominal figure of $100 million--far less than Fox Entertainment will actually seek--to provide a basis for calculating an SEC filing fee.
Fox Entertainment gave some sense of the offering size by disclosing that it intends to use the IPO proceeds to repay borrowings from other News Corp. affiliates. While those borrowings totaled $3.7 billion as of June 30, 1998, Fox Entertainment didn't specify how much of that debt it will repay.