Murdoch considers splitting up News Corporation
News Corporation is considering dividing itself into two, splitting off its publishing arm from its much larger entertainment division, according to a report in the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
If Rupert Murdoch brings off the move, it would mean the creation of a publishing business that would comprise News International's papers - The Times, Sunday Times and The Sun - with the WSJ, the New York Post and the book publisher, HarperCollins.
The entertainment entity would include the Fox movie studio and television networks that now represent News Corp's strongest and most profitable parts.
According to a source cited by the New York Times, the Murdoch family would be likely to retain control of the newly split companies.
Such a proposal has been aired in the past, and Murdoch has always rejected it. But the negative effects of the phone-hacking scandal have reopened the door to the notion. And this time it might just happen.
The WSJ, quoting "a person familiar with the situation," states that Murdoch "has recently warmed to the idea."
News Corp's chief operating officer, Chase Carey, said earlier this year that the company's management team had considered a split. But at the time, he said, no decision had been made.
The main reason for the division, even if prompted by the hacking scandal, centres on attempts to improve shareholder value at a time when shareholders have been increasingly critical of the News Corp board.
Many of the company's investors have argued that the company should focus on its more lucrative entertainment assets, which together generated $23.5bn (£15.1bn) in revenue in the year ended in June 2011. The publishing business, by contrast, contributed $8.8bn (£5.6bn).
News Corporation's shares have risen 20% over the past 12 months, but some of that ballast has been supplied by an expensive buyback programme.