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News Corp. board approves split

June 27, 2012|By Dawn C. Chmielewski and Meg James
  • News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch delivers a keynote address at the National Summit on Education Reform on October 14, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Wednesday night, News Corp.'s board approved a plan to split the media conglomerate.
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch delivers a keynote address at the National… (Justin Sullivan/Getty…)

News Corp.'s board of directors voted late Wednesday night in favor of a proposal that would separate the media conglomerate's publishing assets from the rest of its entertainment holdings, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The company is expected to announce the split Thursday morning, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the board's decision. A News Corp. spokesman declined comment.

The breakup of the company represents a historic move for founder Rupert Murdoch, who built the global media powerhouse from a single newspaper in Australia. In recent years, Murdoch has adamantly opposed any plans that would separate the publishing group from the rest of the company.

But publishing has become an Achilles' heel for News Corp., in the wake of a devastating phone hacking scandal in London.

Under the plan approved Wednesday, the film and television operations -- including the 20th Century Fox film studio, the Fox broadcast network and the profitable Fox News Channel -- would form one company. News Corp.'s newspapers, HarperCollins book publishing and the education business would constitute the second, publicly traded company.

Investors have reacted positively to news that News Corp. was contemplating the reorganization, driving up the company's stock 11% since initial reports Tuesday.

Wall Street has agitated for years for News Corp. to hive off its newspaper holdings, which include the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Times of London, the British Sun tabloid and the papers in Australia.

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