News Corp.’s long-awaited split is official. Rupert Murdoch’s media behemoth Friday completed the separation of its entertainment from its news and information businesses into two publicly traded companies. The new News Corp (spelled with no period, differentiating it from the previous conglomerate) is comprised of Murdoch’s newspapers worldwide, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and The Times of London, as well as couponing, book publishing, digital education and other businesses.
Post-separation, News Corp, split off so as not to be a drag on the faster-growing entertainment side, will emerge the biggest U.S. newspaper publisher, bigger than Gannett Co. and the New York Times Co. put together.
The old News Corp. had an uneven track record when it came to digital. Robert Thomson, News Corp's new CEO, defended the newspapers' brands while distancing the company from its reliance on print, saying the newspapers would now be known as "platforms" and that the new spinoff would be a launchpad for new digital products. As for the cost cutting that's been widely expected now that the newspapers will have to stand on their own, Thomson told the Financial Times that there would be a "year or two" of transformation that would include "acute" cost cuts as well as new product development.
The other company emerging from the split, 21st Century Fox, spans a global portfolio of cable and broadcasting properties including Fox and Fox News Channel and film and TV production studios.