UPDATE: Forget that News Corp is renaming its new separate media and entertainment business 21st Century Fox to take it into the future. 20th Century Fox is sticking to its past. ”The film …
BREAKING… 21st Century Fox replaces the previously announced name Fox Group for the independent media and entertainment company. The publishing side will retain the name News Corp when the Big Media corporation splits off its two main businesses. The new name will be effective with the separation and “draws on the Company’s creative heritage, while also speaking to the future as well as the innovation that defines its portfolio of businesses,” according to today’s press release. (I hear Rupert Murdoch‘s giant actually hired a naming company for this rather obvious choice unofficially pictured here.) Under the 21st Century Fox umbrella will be a global portfolio of cable and broadcasting networks and properties, including FOX, FX, FXX, FS1, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Network, National Geographic Channels, Fox Pan American Sports, MundoFox and STAR; film studio Twentieth Century Fox Film; and television production studios Twentieth Century Fox Television and Shine Group as well as its pay-television services in Europe and Asia, including Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and its equity interests in BSkyB and Tata Sky. On June 28, 2012, News Corp announced the separation of its businesses into two separate independent companies, with the other containing newspapers, information services, and integrated marketing services, digital real estate services, book publishing, digital education and sports programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia. The split still needs federal regulatory approval. Here is Murdoch’s memo to all employees about the new name announcement:
Rupert Murdoch Credits Inspiration Of Margaret Thatcher
The death of Margaret Thatcher has stirred intense reaction in the UK this week. The former British Prime Minister was a polarizing figure, but Rupert Murdoch has made no secret of his respect for her. Last year around this time, he told the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics that he remained “a great admirer.” Today, he penned a tribute in his London Times newspaper crediting her with being “an inspiration in my business life.” Murdoch had meetings with Thatcher around the time that he was bidding to acquire Times Newspapers, but has said he never asked her for any favors. Thatcher was famous for her stance against the unions during the 1979 strikes in Britain. Murdoch in his tribute called her “a risk-taker” who inspired his own position in the newspaper strikes of 1986, “the first major strike in private industry that had been won by the owners since the war.” Without that win, Murdoch writes, “We would not have the vigorous competitive press that is a feature of modern Britain. It was the same in the television industry. We took huge risks in creating satellite television which many critics derided as the end of civilization, but as a result, we created thousands of jobs and viewers now enjoy far greater choice.” In conclusion, Murdoch wrote, “Thanks to her I have experienced in Britain many of my defining moments as a businessman.”
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Rupert Murdoch’s Australian empire will generate as much of 60% of the annual earnings of the publishing arm of News Corp. after the company splits this year, say Sydney-based analysts who are generally sanguine about the new News Corporation’s prospects. The Oz group has largely gone under the radar of international investors until now because its financial results were not disclosed. With that set to change after the split, Kim Williams, CEO of Australian division News Limited, will face increased pressure and scrutiny from the get-go.
ComSec’s Alice Bennett expects News Corporation stock to be sold off aggressively at the start, creating one of the initial challenges for Williams. Bennett believes the sale will be down to factors that include News Corp.’s exposure to the Australian and New Zealand economies; the fact that publishing reps 53% of earnings; ongoing losses at the Amplify education business and the risk of further litigation in the UK. But, she does allow, “When the dust settles post demerger, we think this vehicle could provide some interesting opportunities for Australian investors given the highly cash-generative pay TV assets and higher-growth online assets.” Fox Sports and Foxtel, of which News Corp. holds 50%, are staying in the publishing fold. The company also owns 61% of realestate.com.au.
I could have run the same headline almost every day this month. The media giant has been on a tear, surpassing prices that it hasn’t seen since February 2007. News Corp closed today at $27.90, up 0.4% from yesterday — and +9.4% since New Year’s Day, a period when the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 5.3%. Why so much enthusiasm? Many investors are excited by the planned spin off of the newspaper properties, which usually offset profits generated by the cable networks and entertainment assets. The Street’s also intrigued to see CEO Rupert Murdoch making deals again. They liked the one in November to buy 49% of the New York Yankees’ YES Network, as well as the talk about Fox mobilizing its sports properties to create two national sports channels. With the newspaper properties going, there’s less fear that he’ll stick Fox with a deal they’ll hate — like his $5B purchase of Dow Jones in 2007.
Rupert Murdoch was in London last week, crowing about scoring rights to online clips of Premier League soccer matches and reportedly visiting his UK newspapers. He also held a private dinner that’s becoming a hot potato in the local media. London Mayor Boris Johnson, a rival to Prime Minister David Cameron for leadership of the Conservative Party, is widely believed to have attended along with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, whose office confirmed his presence to The Guardian. (Also reportedly there was Homeland star Damian Lewis, whose show is produced by News Corp.-owned Fox21, and who’s a graduate of Eton, as is Johnson.) While private meetings between politicians and media owners don’t run afoul of parliamentary or party rules, this particular dinner has raised eyebrows in light of last year’s Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics where an overriding theme was the cozy relationship enjoyed by newspaper proprietors and the highest levels of government.
ITV’s ‘Come Dine With Me’ Format In 36 Territories
ITV Studios Global Entertainment has signed multiple deals for its hit format Come Dine With Me including Asia’s first local version of the format to air on Indian broadcaster Star India. The network has commissioned 40 30-minute episodes. The Star India deal brings the total number of international territories producing the show to 36. Additionally, ITV Studios Nordic has been recommissioned to produce a 10th series of 60 episodes by Sweden’s TV4 and a second series of 40 episodes by Nelonen in Finland. Meanwhile, ITV Studios Australia has been recommissioned to produce a fourth (6 x 60’) series for Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel to air in 2013. The format has also recently re-launched in Turkey on Fox TV and Belgium on Vier 4.
News Corp and Sky Deutschland have reached a new financing arrangement that will see Rupert Murdoch’s company increase its holdings in the Germany pay-TV group from 49.9% to 54.5%. Under the deal, News Corp will guarantee Sky Deutschland’s new 300M euro ($400M) credit facility and will support a capital raise of 438M euros ($585M). Sky is issuing 77.9M shares to News Corp to raise 347.4M euros ($463M) and the remainder will be raised via a Sky rights offering to shareholders. In the all-important soccer rights arena, News Corp will also act as guarantor to the German Football League for the new Bundesliga broadcasting license for the 2013/14 to 2016/17 seasons at up to 50% of the annual license fee for each season. Sky Deutschland’s stock was the best performer in the Bloomberg Europe 500 Media Index last year. It closed at 4.60 euros ($6.15) on Friday. German authorities initially gave the go-ahead back in November for News Corp to hold a majority stake in the company. Click over for the full press release:
There are some interesting nuggets for investors in what’s mostly a technical document that kicks off the process that will lead to the spinoff of News Corp‘s publishing assets into a new, publicly traded company. It’s ”another important step forward in the evolution of our company and in the establishment of two independent global leaders in Fox Group and the new News Corporation,” CEO Rupert Murdoch says. The filing notes that the assets going into the new company generated a net loss of $92M in the three months ending September 30, down from a $38M profit in the period last year, on revenues of $2.13B, -1.5%. That includes a $115M impairment charge, with $112M for newspapers following a restructuring and layoffs in the UK and Australia. The publishing company assets also lost $2.08B in the fiscal year that ended in June, down from a $678M profit, on $8.65B in revenues, -4.8%. Much of the decline is due to the closing of the scandal-ridden News Of The Worldtabloid. The spinoff will include Fox Sports Australia which, for some strange reason, News Corp says “favorably complements our publishing and education portfolio.” The document notes that UK and U.S. officials are still investigating the hacking and bribery scandals (referred to here as “U.K. Newspaper Matters”). The proceedings “could damage our reputation and might impair our ability to conduct our business.” Although the company has resolved many cases, “management believes that it is probable that additional claims will be filed.”
Editor Of Rupert Murdoch’s Times Of London Resigns, Says It Was “Made Clear” News Corp. Wanted Someone New
James Harding has run the flagship Times newspaper since 2007. In his resignation speech, Harding said, “It has been made clear to me that News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor of The Times. I have, …
The curious thing about Julius Genachowski‘s tenure as FCC chairman is that he’s been a virtuoso in dealing with broadband issues but tone deaf when it comes to traditional media. Case in point: Look at all the people he has infuriated with his attempt to make it easier for a company to own a TV station and major newspaper in the same city. (A proposal Genachowski circulated would put the burden on the FCC to show why it should block a cross-ownership arrangement in the 20 largest markets.) The effort is tailor-made for Rupert Murdoch. He’s kicking the tires at The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — two cities where Fox also owns TV stations. That has foes of media consolidation seeing red. “We cannot live in a vibrant democracy unless people get divergent sources of information,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) said yesterday. “I intend to do everything I can to prevent this proposal from going forward.” That effort has momentum. This week Genachowski — under pressure from Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a potential swing vote on the five-member commission – said he’d accept more public comment on media ownership rules, pushing any decision into January at the earliest. Some of Genachowski’s most vigorous supporters tell me that they believe he blew it: If opponents effectively use the time to rally others to speak out against the plan, it’s probably toast.