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News Corp. Publishing Division Weighs Down Film, TV

The division of News Corp. into two separate entities will be a welcome development for those on the film and TV side

News Corp. COO Chase Carey told analysts Wednesday that the company is “on course” with the planned separation of its publishing business from its film and TV business.

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Given the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report, said separation can’t come soon enough.

News Corp. took a $2.9 billion pre-tax impairment and restructuring charge for the quarter, principally related to its publishing business and the Australian operations in particular. That charge resulted in a net loss of $1.6 billion for the quarter, compared to the $728 million in profit from the same quarter last year.

While News Corp. still posted higher profits in fiscal 2012 than fiscal 2011, Carey acknowledged that the publishing business is in “restructuring mode” and at best would be flat next year. Its publishing business include the The Daily, New York Post, Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins, as well as the UK and Australian papers.

The poor performance of the publishing sector stands in stark contrast to News Corp.’s cable business, which generated $3.3 billion in profits for fiscal year 2012.

As for the proposed split of the company? Carey said the company would file the initial regulatory papers by the end of the calendar year, with operating details to follow.

“No news” for now, Carey said.

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