News Corp. has tapped J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to advise the media empire about splitting itself into two separate companies, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.
Rupert Murdoch's company legitimized rumors of a potential cleaving on Tuesday in a statement saying that it was "… considering a restructuring to separate its business into two distinct publicly traded companies."
Under that scenario, its publishing unit, a division that includes Dow Jones International and the New York Post, would reportedly be spun off from News Corp.'s more lucrative television and film business.
Potentially fueling the move, analysts say, is pressure to inoculate those assets from legal liabilities involving hacking and bribery at News Corp.'s U.K. tabloids. Though the company shuttered News of the World, the paper where most of the hacking took place, last year, it potentially faces legal costs and settlements of up to $1 billion.
"I think it's a good move," Matthew Harrigan, an analyst for Wunderlich Securities, told TheWrap on Tuesday. "I imagine they'll try to work it in a way where they try to fund the liabilities in the U.K. off the publishing assets."
In the short term, investors certainly seem to like the idea. News Corp. shares have surged this week and were up 2.14 percent on Wednesday to $22.43.