News Corp. shares have only recently recovered from a tumble that began five years ago when Murdoch paid $5 billion to buy the Wall Street Journal, which the company later conceded was worth less than half its purchase price. News Corp. shares have climbed 24% since the spinoff plan became public in June.
Murdoch has said the new company, which probably will be formed sometime next year, will start with cash for acquisitions and no debt to make it attractive to investors. News Corp. ended its last fiscal year with more than $9 billion in cash, and some of that would be transferred to the new publishing venture.
That venture would include the New York Post, HarperCollins book publishing, British newspapers, dozens of Australian newspapers, a coupon insert business, an educational materials business and News Corp.'s TV operations in Australia and New Zealand.
"Rupert Murdoch has an irrational love of newspapers," veteran media analyst Alan Mutter said. "He is the last of the press barons … a red-blooded, swashbuckling, stop-the-presses kind of character."
Times staff writer Dawn C. Chmielewski contributed to this report.