News Corp.'s News Assets Could Be Turning A Corner
Alpha Gen Capital
Alpha Gen Capital
Thu, Nov. 17, 1:46 PM
- The election's been very good to The New York Times (NYT +0.4%). The paper says it's added a net 41,000 subscriptions in the week since Donald Trump was elected U.S. president.
- That dramatic uptick comes in both print and digital subs, the largest one-week increase since it debuted its digital pay model five years ago.
- Unsurprisingly, the NYT set new traffic records on Nov. 8-10, with readers spending five times longer than usual in the paper's coverage.
- The NYT has added more than 100,000 net new digital subs so far this quarter.
- Meanwhile, in what's seen as a response to Trump's press-bashing this year, subscriptions are also up this week at The Wall Street Journal (NWS, NWSA +0.1%) as well as The New Yorker (10,000 new subs in the three days after the election), liberal standby Mother Jones, and The Atlantic. Nonprofit investigative operation ProPublica has seen a dramatic rise in donations over the same period.
Mon, Nov. 7, 4:34 PM
- News Corp. (NWS +2.9%, NWSA +2.8%) logged mixed fiscal Q1 earnings that beat revenue expectations and narrowly missed consensus expectations for a break-even quarter.
- Revenues declined to $1.97B from the prior year's $2.01B, and adjusted EPS fell to -$0.01 from last year's $0.05. Total EBITDA of $130M dropped from the prior year's $165M but beat an expected $124.3M.
- “News Corp made real progress as it continued to drive higher digital revenues and position the company for long-term growth," said CEO Robert Thomson. "While the quarter presented some obvious challenges, particularly in print advertising and the weakness of the Pound Sterling, our revenues were relatively stable, underscoring the strength and scale of our portfolio and shift to digital."
- Revenue by segment: News and Information Services, $1.22B (down 5%); Book Publishing, $389M (down 5%); Digital Real Estate Services, $226M (up 18%); Cable Network Programming, $128M (up 3%).
- EBITDA by segment: News and Information Services, $46M (down 45%); Book Publishing, $48M (up 14%); Digital Real Estate Services, $67M (up 18%); Cable Network Programming, $14M (down 50%).
- Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
- Press release
Mon, Oct. 31, 12:29 PM
- Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX +0.7%, FOXA +0.5%) has brought News Corp's Paul Cheesbrough over to be its new chief technology officer.
- Cheesbrough served in the same role since 2012 for News Corp. (NWS +0.4%, NWSA +0.3%), another company run by the Murdoch family. At Fox, he'll report to CEO James Murdoch and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch.
- He'll oversee the enterprise technology leaders from the company units: Fox Networks Group, Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox News Channel.
Fri, Oct. 21, 1:14 PM
- A day after reports showed a substantial revamp coming to The Wall Street Journal (NWS -0.4%, NWSA -0.6%) as part of a cost-cutting review, Reuters reports a memo from Editor in Chief Gerard Baker is offering buyouts to all news employees, with a goal of a "substantial" number taking them.
- Dow Jones' "WSJ2020" plan was set to rebalance revenue streams and focus on the newsroom, ad sales and overall efficiency improvements. But in particular, the newspaper was set to consolidate sections and was likely to reduce headcount.
- Offering buyouts to everyone suggests the company is seeking deep cost cuts in news.
- "We are seeking a substantial number of employees to elect this benefit, but we reserve the right to reject a volunteer based on business considerations," Baker's memo says.
Wed, Oct. 19, 7:22 PM
- Dow Jones (NWS +0.7%, NWSA +1%) says it's planning a substantial revamp at The Wall Street Journal as part of a review to better address costs, amid an ongoing decline in print advertising.
- The "WSJ2020" plan will look to rebalance the news organization's revenue streams as its customers flock to digital formats, and a revised version of the print newspaper will launch in the next few weeks with some sections consolidated.
- “The new product will be a livelier, sharper and more concise newspaper that is an engaging counterpart to our digitally delivered news,” says a memo from Editor in Chief Gerard Baker. “It will also present a more coherent organization of our coverage in print, and will involve some consolidation of sections of the paper and the teams that produce it.”
- That likely means headcount reductions as well. A memo from Dow Jones CEO William Lewis says WSJ2020 will focus on three area: the newsroom, ad sales, and areas to improve efficiency.
Wed, Oct. 12, 4:50 PM
- In its definitive proxy statement filed ahead of its annual general meeting, News Corp. (NWS -1.8%, NWSA -1.5%) noted total compensation for Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch rose modestly, about 5.5%, to $5.34M.
- That follows on last year's decline, to total compensation of $5.07M from 2014's $8.7M.
- Murdoch's base salary got a $19K bump (to $1,019,231), while stock awards rose to $2.19M and non-equity incentive compensation rose to $2.133M.
- CEO Robert Thomson got a bigger raise, to $11.34M from 2015's $10.29M (up 10.1%). Chief Financial Officer Bedi Ajay Singh saw total comp rise to $4.96M from $4.64M. Andj General Counsel David B. Pitofsky's total comp rose to $2.72M from a previous $2.05M.
- The company is set for its annual meeting Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. ET, in Los Angeles.
- After hours: NWS +1.8%, NWSA +1.5%.
Wed, Sep. 21, 2:13 PM
- Raju Narisetti is departing a role as senior VP of strategy for News Corp. (NWS +0.9%, NWSA +0.8%) to take over as CEO at the remnant Gawker Media Group.
- The company -- which holds all of the former Gawker sites except for Gawker.com, and which was acquired out of bankruptcy by Univision (Pending:UVN) last month -- will be renamed "Gizmodo Media Group," now named after the network's lead tech blog.
- In a statement, Narisetti says: "As part of Univision, we will now be more ambitious in deepening, broadening and sensibly scaling the passionate digital communities ... by offering accurate, responsible, edgy and engaging journalism, as well as through relevant, related content and commerce."
- The new Gizmodo Media Group consists of Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Jalopnik, Kotaku and Lifehacker.
Mon, Sep. 12, 7:58 AM
Mon, Aug. 8, 5:26 PM
- News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) saw mixed results in its fiscal Q4 earnings, with revenues making a surprising gain and beat, but profits missing on a per-share basis.
- Comps were affected by the quarter including 14 weeks vs. last year's 13 weeks. HarperCollins showed an upturn, and the company pointed to fast growth in its digital real estate services (including Realtor.com growth).
- Revenue by segment: News and Information Services, $1.42B (up 1%); Book Publishing, $433M (up 11%); Digital Real Estate Services, $229M (up 21%); Cable Network Programming, $147M (up 11%).
- EBITDA gained in all segments except News and Information Services, where it fell 5%.
- Digital revenues continue to take up space, making up 23% of revenues in the News and Information Services segment vs. a year-ago 19%. The Wall Street Journal hit 948,000 digital-only subscribers in the quarter; The Times and The Sunday Times neared 182,500 digital-only subs.
- Press release
Mon, Aug. 8, 4:47 PM
Thu, Jun. 30, 9:02 AM
Mon, Jun. 6, 5:36 PM
- Zillow (Z, ZG) has settled a lawsuit filed by News Corp.-owned (NWS, NWSA) Move Inc., the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and three related entities for $130M. The settlement doesn't contain any admission of wrongdoing. (8-K filing)
- Move had sued Zillow for trade secret theft over its hiring of two former Move execs - chief industry development officer Errol Samuelson and MLS partnerships VP Curt Beardsley - and had claimed $2B in damages. Zillow sold off last month after receiving a mixed ruling in the suit regarding allegations the hired execs destroyed evidence that could've helped Move's case.
- Z +8.5% after hours to $32.90. ZG +4% to $32.00. Legal costs related to the lawsuit have had a big impact on Zillow's bottom line.
Wed, May 18, 5:40 PM
- In a response to today's rulings in its trade-secrets case against Zillow, Move Inc. (NWS, NWSA) says it's pleased with the actions and is looking forward to presenting evidence to a jury June 6.
- That, despite the fact that the company would have preferred a more declaratory judgment to end the case in its favor.
- The judge allowed an instruction that allows the jury to infer that destroyed evidence could have helped Move's case, or hurt Zillow's. Curt Beardsley -- who left Move along with Errol Samuelson for Zillow -- had testified that he had erased files from Zillow computers to cover up viewing of pornography, in what Zillow chief Spencer Rascoff called a "knucklehead" move.
- "This important ruling validates our claim that one of Zillow's top executives, Curt Beardsley, acted with 'willfulness and bad faith' in destroying evidence, and his actions have 'prejudiced plaintiffs' ability to prosecute their case,' " Move says. It adds that the case has cost Zillow more than $40M, "making the two poached executives among the most expensive in corporate history."
- Meanwhile, Zillow (NASDAQ:Z), which declined as much 6.6% in the ruling's aftermath, recovered quickly to close up 2.8% on the day, and has added another 0.8% in gains after hours.
- Updated 7:25 p.m.: Zillow looks forward to the trial as well: "We applaud the Court’s decision with respect to Zillow and Errol Samuelson, which validates what we already knew: that during the pre-trial hearing, News Corp did not offer evidence that Zillow or Errol did anything wrong or that the we failed to live up to our obligations in this case. ... Ultimately this comes down to News Corp. trying to win in the courts, since they aren’t winning in the court of consumer opinion."
- Now read Dual Share Class Arbitrage Opportunity With News Corp. »
Thu, May 5, 6:51 PM
- News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) swung to a loss as it took costs tied to litigation and revenue slipped, but the company beat expectations on an adjusted basis in its fiscal Q3.
- Segment EBITDA of $185M excluded a legal settlement charge of $280M and beat an expected $150M; including the charge, reported segment EBITDA was -$122M.
- Excluding the legal charge and currency headwinds, "revenues and EBITDA declined 5% and 8%, respectively, which was still disappointing," said CEO Robert Thomson; he thinks Q4 is on track, though, "with the expansion of our digital real estate business, foreign currency comparisons hopefully beginning to ease, and cost saving initiatives taking firmer root."
- Revenue by segment: News and Information Services, $1.23B (down 9%); Book Publishing, $358M (down 11%); Digital Real Estate Services, $194M (up 14%); Cable Network Programming, $107M (down 8%).
- In EBITDA terms, its largest segment swung to a loss: News and Information Services, -$187M; Book Publishing, $36M (down 36%); Digital Real Estate Services, $39M (down 7%); Cable Network Programming, $34M (up 26%).
- The company noted Realtor.com hit record traffic with 50M average monthly unique users (up 30%).
Thu, Apr. 14, 6:07 PM
- Testimony continues in the $1.77B legal battle between real estate firms Move (NWS, NWSA) and Zillow Group (NASDAQ:Z), with Zillow chief Spencer Rascoff denying in court that Errol Samuelson had offered to share trade secrets.
- Move -- which runs Realtor.com -- is charging that Samuelson and Curt Beardsley divulged trade secrets in leaving Move for Zillow in 2014, and that they covered that up by deleting files from various devices.
- Rascoff says he disciplined Curt Beardsley, an executive who left Move for Zillow, over sloppiness in destroying and erasing devices. “Curt made a number of decisions that exhibited bad judgment that I can only describe as knucklehead moves,” Rascoff testified; Beardsley testified that he had erased files from Zillow computers because he had used them in viewing pornography.
- Rascoff also said Samuelson didn't offer to share any Move trade secrets, "and if he had, I would have hung up the phone at that very moment." Zillow has called the charges "baseless."
- Now read Will Seasonality Return At Zillow? »
Wed, Apr. 6, 12:02 PM
- News America Marketing (NWS +1%, NWSA +0.9%) has named News Corp. veteran Ajay Singh as its chief financial officer.
- The company runs Sunday coupon inserts as well as digital platforms for marketing and promotions.
- Singh was previously senior VP of finance at News Corp., and built out financial systems teams prior to the company's debut as a separate publicly traded company three years ago.
- Now read Dual Share Class Arbitrage Opportunity With News Corp. »