News Corp plans publishing spin-off

Rupert MurdochNews Corporation has said it will spin off its publishing division with 2.56 billion dollars (£1.71 billion) in cash and no debt, giving it the means to invest in digital operations and acquire businesses.

The amount of cash the publishing unit will receive was included in a securities filing on Friday.

The amount includes a payment of 1.82 billion dollars (£1.22 billion) from the parent company, to be renamed Fox Group.

Another 741 million dollars (£496 million) is already held in cash by the businesses to be spun off.

The separation of the publishing businesses from the TV and film businesses is expected by June.

The publishing company will include newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, the HarperCollins book publisher, Australian TV assets and its fledgling for-profit education business, Amplify. It will keep the News Corp name.

News Corp also said the new publishing company would not have to pay for any further legal costs or civil claims related to the phone hacking scandal involving its British newspapers. News Corp has spent 346 million dollars (£232 million) on probes related to the case.

The publishing company would be liable for criminal penalties if they arose.

News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch will be executive chairman of the spun-off company and remain CEO of Fox Group. He will end up controlling both entities through the nearly 40% of Class B voting shares he controls through a family trust.

Robert Thomson will be CEO of the spun-off News Corp. He had been managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

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