Thu, Jun. 18, 9:29 AM
- News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) says it's going to pay a semiannual dividend for the first time since the company split from Twenty-First Century Fox two years ago, and is extending its poison pill yet again, now for another three years.
- The shareholder rights plan was set to expire today. It filed details of the poison pill in an 8-K.
- The dividend, of $0.10/share, will be initiated in Q1 of its 2016 fiscal year, beginning on June 29, and paid in its second quarter, which ends in December.
- Last month, the company started buying back its class A shares for the first time since the Fox separation. It had established a $500M repurchase program at the time of the split but only recently has begun to have "intensive discussions on our capital return policy.”
- Previously: News Corp. up 4.4% after announcing repurchase plan (May. 11 2015)
- Updated 9:35 a.m.: NWS is up 1.5%; NWSA up 1.6%.
Thu, Jun. 11, 7:24 PM
- So what changes at Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) now that Murdoch transition details are beginning to emerge?
- Not as much as might seem, at first. Rupert Murdoch would still have a heavy hand as co-executive chairman; Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes will continue to report to Rupert as well. Ailes had reportedly clashed with Lachlan Murdoch (the other co-executive chairman-to-be) in the past. He'll likely keep a fair amount of independence as Fox News is a major revenue driver (operating revenue in 2014 of $2.04B).
- Lachlan and James Murdoch, Fox's next CEO, will approach running the company as a partnership, not unlike how Rupert and co-COO Chase Carey do today: One with eyes on the long term, one more focused on short-term operations.
- For James, the biggest advantage may be his background in advertising technology. As he's risen through Fox's ranks he's taken an increasing interest and role in digital strategy, and reports say he's a key player in talks about how Fox targets cord-cutters. “He realizes that ad-supported TV is coming to a crossroads," says former News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Miller.
- Michael Wolff says the succession will solve Rupert's "Hollywood problem": The western town has been a rough fit with Rupert since the Peter Chernin days, but the acquittal of Murdoch execs in the London hacking scandal helped mitigate a blemish on James' resume and cleared the way for more Murdoch power at Fox, which had become a more important sphere than the newspaper operations.
Tue, Jun. 2, 5:24 PM
- After a few months of talks, News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) have reached a deal to move into a joint headquarters at the World Trade Center site.
- The two will set up in a new 99-story skyscraper, 2 World Trade Center, to be built at 200 Greenwich St.
- It's the fourth and last tower planned for the site, and the News Corp./Fox space would include TV studios at the base, along with newsrooms and office space for employees across both companies' businesses.
- The move will put a button on a transformation of lower Manhattan over the past decade, as information, media and tech companies have set up there, including Condé Nast, The Daily News, Time Inc. and others.
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, May 5, 5:54 PM
- News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) is up 1.1% after a fiscal Q3 earnings miss that showed declining revenues driven by dropping ad sales as well as currency-based challenges.
- Revenue by segment: News and Information Services, $1.353B (down 9%); Book Publishing, $402M (up 14%); Cable Network Programming, $116M (up 3%); Digital Real Estate Services, $170M (up 67%); Digital Education, $21M (flat).
- "News Corp is now a global leader in digital real estate, which we believe will underpin long-term expansion," said CEO Robert Thomson.
- Segment EBITDA dropped $23% in News and Information Services (to $113M) and dropped 21% in Digital Real Estate Services (to $42M), but gained 6% in Book Publishing (to $56M).
- In News and Information Services, ad revenues dropped 12% and circulation and subscription sales fell 6%.
- Press Release
Tue, May 5, 5:16 PM
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, 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.
Thu, Apr. 2, 5:57 PM
- Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) clashed with book publisher Hachette in a lengthy skirmish last year over e-book pricing, and now with its own contract lapsing, HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWSA) seems ready to try wrestling with the retail giant.
- Amazon says it's offering HarperCollins the same deal that Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan recently agreed to. But HarperCollins has its own online sales operations, after a move last summer to sell most of its inventory on its site, as well as deals with Amazon e-publishing competitors.
- In the publishing clashes, Jeff Bezos has maintained e-books are too expensive; a way out in this negotiation (and considering Amazon's size, some kind of resolution seems likely) may come if Amazon agrees to loosen its tight grip on customer data.
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)
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.
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