March 12, 2013

News Corp’s new publishing arm to start life with a big pot of money

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Despite the split between News Corps.’s more valuable entertainment division,  now called Fox Group Inc., and the print arm, the old media interests will nevertheless start their new life with some healthy funding.

According to a Bloomberg News report by Edmund Lee, the print arm, which includes the The Wall Street JournalHarper Collins and a variety of UK newspaper interests, will have $2.6 billion cash in the bank, $18.6 billion in total assets, and no debt, ensuring it’s best placed in comparison to its immediate rivals. Writes Lee,

“Its debt-free balance sheet puts it far ahead of publishers such as New York Times Co. (NYT), with $163 million in net debt; Gannett Co., with $1.26 billion; and McClatchy Co., with $1.78 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”

This may well be an indication of Rupert Murdoch‘s undying passion for print. As Lee suggests, there is talk Murdoch is considering purchasing the Los Angeles Times media group. The last big rumor was that Murdoch was looking at the Boston Globe too, although his spokesperson denied it. Back in February, Michael Wolff, the author of the exhaustive Murdoch biography The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch, told a reporter for the Boston Herald,

“Rupert would be terrifically interested in the Boston Globe… Rupert is now in the process of shopping for American newspapers but doing that in the context of that this is the bottom of the market… He is — first, last and always — a newspaper publisher. I’m sure he will take a look at the Globe.”

Although his shareholders could care less, Murdoch is clearly backing his print endeavors to the bitter end. Now if only he’d write a cri de coeur declaring his love for print in the Warren Buffet style.

 

 

Ariel Bogle is a former publicist at Melville House.

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