Rupert Murdoch Will See Advertisers Write Him Off
News Corp will sell television businesses and have a hasty split of its publishing and entertainment units, Chief Executive Robert Thomson said.
Shareholders will pay taxes on the tax-free value of the Walt Disney Co. deal, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jeff Logsdon said. But the tax hit would be quite small, he said.
The company’s television networks would move to the broadcasting unit, while its papers, magazines and book publishing would be housed in the new publishing entity. The shares closed 3.2% higher at $27.95.
Over a year after the Fox deal was announced, Murdoch and Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey were still negotiating settlement terms Friday morning and had not yet finalized their agreement with Walt Disney Co., according to a person familiar with the matter.
If the deal is canceled, Fox will likely turn to Comcast, for a possible bidding war. But the logic of such a battle would break down if Fox moved to Comcast at the 12 March $31-a-share price that Comcast’s bid valued Fox at.
Strategically, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has little room to back out of a deal to acquire the bulk of Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox’s stake in Hulu.
“Whether it’s us, Disney or Comcast, I expect a lot of movement today,” Roberts said on CNBC.
For the most part, BlackRock’s investment isn’t contingent on the sale of a handful of assets that are the cornerstones of the publicly traded Twenty-First Century Fox, the company said in a statement. In fact, such a deal could help the publicly traded Fox raise $10 billion in cash by selling “majority or all” of its 24 regional sports networks, it said.
Talks between the Murdochs and Disney are ongoing and will continue through the weekend, two people with knowledge of the matter said earlier. Talks are in the second phase of Disney’s due diligence on the satellite broadcaster, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
— With assistance by Shira Ovide