Mon, May 11, 2:41 PM
- News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) is up 4.4% following news last night that it plans to start buybacks ahead of the schedule that it set when dividing Twenty-First Century Fox from the company in 2013.
- Meanwhile, after the stock missed earnings expectations on lower ad sales last week, Zacks has downgraded shares to a Sell rating, from Hold.
- Jefferies this weekend had reiterated an in-line rating for the stock with a price target of $20. Shares are trading currently at $15.81.
Sun, May 10, 9:40 PM
- News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) has started buying back A shares, for the first time since its 2013 split-off from Twenty-First Century Fox.
- The company established a $500M repurchase program two years ago but hadn't taken action on it until now.
- "We had indicated to investors that we needed two years to set the new News Corp. firmly on a digital and global course," says CEO Robert Thomson, "and are confident that the substantial progress made thus far enables us to take this positive action ahead of schedule."
- Previously: News Corp. up 1.1%; Q3 numbers miss as ad sales weigh on info services (May. 05 2015)
Tue, Apr. 14, 2:54 AM
- Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWSA) have reached a new multi-year publishing deal - expected to go into effect this week - that covers both print and digital titles.
- The agreement calls for HarperCollins to set the retail prices of its digital books, with incentives for HarperCollins to provide lower prices to consumers.
- In November, Amazon ended its brutal battle with Hachette over print and e-books, following a six month stand-off that battered the French-owned publisher’s sales.
- Previously: HarperCollins next to collide with Amazon on e-books (Apr. 02 2015)
Fri, Apr. 10, 7:47 PM
- Executive pay reports keep rolling out, and while 2014 was anything but stellar for media companies, most Hollywood CEOs made more (a lot more in some cases) -- with Sumner Redstone a notable exception.
- Viacom (VIA, VIAB) founder Redstone -- who skipped Viacom's earnings call and is reportedly ailing -- earned $13.2M in total comp, down from $36.2M the prior year. CEO Philippe Dauman took in $44.3M in 2014. For CBS, Redstone's comp fell 81% to $10.8M.
- The eye-opening number among eye-openers came for Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) chief David Zaslav, who drew a staggering $156M in total comp (up 368%) -- mostly from $94M in new stocks and options. His base was $3M. Tying his salary to the company's results is very much intentional.
- Lions Gate's (NYSE:LGF) Jon Feltheimer led gainers with a 400% increase to $63.6M, paced again by stock options.
- Other notables: Rupert Murdoch (NWS, FOX) drew $37.9M in total comp, up 31%, while Fox president Chase Carey got $28M (up 4%); Bob Iger (NYSE:DIS) pulled $46.5M, up 35.6%; Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts drew $33M (up 5.1%) and NBCUniversal President Steve Burke got $33.9M (up 9%).
Fri, Apr. 10, 5:46 PM
- News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) are in discussions to build a joint HQ at 2 World Trade Center -- the fourth and last office tower planned for the WTC site, The New York Times reports.
- A move into a new 88-story tower there would mean the media giants would move from midtown and join Time, Condé Nast, The Daily News, American Media and others in lower Manhattan, speeding its transition to a technology/media hub from an old-guard financial stronghold.
- The Rupert Murdoch companies are said to have been in talks with developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for months, in what would be an involved, complex transaction.
- News Corp. and Fox would call for substantial changes to the plans for the tower, including accommodating TV studios at the base.
Tue, Apr. 7, 7:18 PM
- A judge dismissed a lawsuit against News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) that said the company had to seek shareholder approval in extending a poison-pill provision.
- Miramar Police Officers' Retirement Plan filed suit last year, saying that News Corp. was bound to follow a 2006 settlement that said the company couldn't maintain a stockholder-rights plan for more than a year without seeking shareholders' OK.
- A Delaware judge ruled the spinoff of Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) meant that "new" News Corp. was a new company not bound by the 2006 agreement -- but that the Fox spinoff was.
Fri, Mar. 27, 8:21 AM
- Fancy Nancy lands a major TV deal with Disney (NYSE:DIS) that could set up the book series to be the next big franchise.
- Disney Junior says its will produce a TV movie, weekly show, and develop consumer products around the sassy young girl.
- Big-screen movies could follow.
- HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWS) owns some of the rights to Fancy Nancy.
Mon, Mar. 23, 9:39 AM
- After recently lowering its joint bid with Foxtel (NASDAQ:NWSA) in a months-long auction process for Australia's Ten Network, Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) is bailing out of the proceedings.
- The two companies had already dropped a push for full control of Ten after running into pushback from Bruce Gordon, the owner of regional broadcaster Win Corp. who's already at a legally mandated limit of 14.99% ownership of Ten.
- Discovery reportedly balked at Ten's suggestion that it take only a 14.99% stake itself, rather than a controlling share.
- Foxtel now must decide whether to pursue the minority stake on its own.
- Previously: Discovery gives back some gains on Fox merger denials (Feb. 23 2015)
- Previously: Discovery/Foxtel frontrunner in bid for Ten (Nov. 23 2014)
Fri, Mar. 20, 7:51 AM
- Reuters (NYSE:TRI) news service is now unavailable in China to join a growing list of websites which are apparently being blocked by the government's Internet regulator.
- News websites for Bloomberg News, the New York Times (NYSE:NYT), and the Wall Street Journal (NASDAQ:NWS) have been inaccessible due to what media watchers think is intervention from Beijing.
Thu, Mar. 19, 6:40 AM
Fri, Mar. 13, 6:16 PM
- Dutch startup Blendle has reached micropayment agreements with the New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT), The Wall Street Journal (NASDAQ:NWSA) and the Washington Post that will permit readers to buy articles one at a time with a single click, most likely for $0.20/piece.
- NYT is already an investor in Blendle, which would get a 30% cut with the rest going to publishers -- an Apple-app-like deal.
- The arrangement is yet another customer alternative to the papers' metered strategy of allowing some free articles before readers run into a subscription paywall.
- The service is only available in the Netherlands for now -- the company has more than 220,000 users -- but should come to the U.S. later this year as Blendle adds more publishers.
Mon, Mar. 2, 4:46 AM
- Nearly four years after Rebekah Brooks left News Corporation (NASDAQ:NWS) amid the phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct U.K. tabloid the News of the World, the former executive is close to finalizing a deal to return to the company.
- The details of her exact role are still being discussed, but Brooks could end up in an executive position overseeing digital initiatives, WSJ reports.
- Brooks was acquitted last year on four charges related to illegal activity, including conspiracy to intercept voicemails and illegal payments to a public official.
Mon, Feb. 23, 12:33 PM
- Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) gives back much of its morning surge (shares were up 9%; now back to +5%) as the company joins FOX in denying a story (Fox says "categorically untrue") that the two companies talked merger.
- Maybe the rumor comes from a misunderstanding about a joint bid Discovery has put in with Foxtel (NASDAQ:NWSA) for Australia's Ten Network?
- Sanford's Todd Juenger says if the companies are telling the truth and they're not talking, then maybe they should be: "We believe a merger between Fox and Discovery would make strategic sense on a number of levels ... We still love the idea of Discovery as Fox’s next best alternative" to its failed tie-up with Time Warner.
Fri, Feb. 20, 9:37 PM
- Graham Holdings (NYSE:GHC) -- the former Washington Post Company -- was up 3.7% at the open and easily crested the $1,000/share mark again, following its Q4 earnings, before giving back all of the day's gains by midday.
- Education revenues from Kaplan operations ($551.4M, nearly flat) still made up the bulk of its $925.3M in revenues, but particularly strong were revenues in TV broadcasting, up 20% to $102.4M (aided by political ads in a midterm election year). Operating income in broadcast was up 24% to $54.4M.
- Revenue from "other businesses" (which includes digital-heavy publishing operations like Slate, Foreign Policy, The Root) more than doubled to $73.8M, from $30.7M.
- Seems like unloading The Washington Post to Jeff Bezos made the rest of the business great, Benjamin Freed says. He notes that now-GHC shares opened at $560.14 that summer 2013 day, headed to $584.97 that week and it's been a "robust trajectory" ever since. From the time of the sale, shares are up 83% vs. the S&P's +22%.
- Other companies are doing the same, he notes: See News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) splitting off Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA); Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) dropping publications into Tribune Publishing and thriving as a broadcast/real estate company; and Gannett (NYSE:GCI), which plans to spin off USA Today and its dailies.
- Q4 earnings; press release
Wed, Feb. 4, 3:51 PM
- Kingdom Holding Co. -- the publicly listed investment vehicle of Saudi Arabia's Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal -- is selling most of its 6.6% stake in B shares of News Corp. ((NWS -0.3%), (NWSA -0.4%)), leaving it with 1%, and generating about $188M.
- The company, however, is maintaining its 6.6% share of Twenty-First Century Fox ((FOX +0.2%), (FOXA)). It says the sale was part of a general portfolio review.
- Al-Waleed publicly supported Rupert Murdoch through the phone-hacking scandal and investigations and took pains to do so again: "We remain firm believers in NewsCorp’s competent management, led by CEO Robert Thomson, and are fully supportive of Rupert Murdoch and his family."
- The Murdoch companies report earnings over the next 24 hours.
Wed, Feb. 4, 5:35 AM
- Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding, owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, has cut its stake in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS), reducing its shareholding in Class B shares to 1% from 6.6%.
- The bourse statement announcing the news stated that the sale generated "705M riyals ($187.9M)", which will be used for other investments.
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