News Corp. Split Begins

Preliminary trading starts for publishing spinoff

News Corp.'s publishing spinoff began preliminary trading at a value of $9.1 billion, making it "the biggest U.S. newspaper publisher by market capitalization," according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The preliminary trading is part of News Corp.'s plan to split its subsidiary businesses into two independent, publicly-traded companies. Shareholders approved the split at a meeting last week and the two entities will officially separate on June 28.

“[Investors] are going to be making the decision about whether they keep both, or shed one and keep the other,” market strategist Evan Lucas told Bloomberg.

Current News Corp. shareholders get one share of the new publishing offshoot for every four they held in the old company. Most see the publishing unit as a drag on earnings and revenue.

"There will be lots of volatility in the trading until the official split takes place at the end of next week," Lucas told Bloomberg.

News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., with its properties The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. The publishing conglomerate also includes The Australian, The Times of London, The Sun, half of Australia's largest pay TV operator Foxtel, HarperCollins and educational division Amplify.

News Corp.'s value of $9.1 billion makes it the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., compared with Gannett & Co. at $5.5 billion, Washington Post Co. at $3.6 billion and New York Times Co. at $1.6 billion.

News Corp.'s entertainment spinoff, 21st Century Fox, encompasses Fox News, 20th Century Fox Studio and Fox broadcasting. Its holdings are worth $65 billion. Shares of 21st Century Fox began preliminary trading on Wednesday at $28.15 on the Nasdaq.

Rupert Murdoch will be chairman of both companies and CEO of Fox.