Clouds lifting over Murdoch, News Corp is out to buy again

Nov 21 2012, 03:31 IST
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SummaryNews Corporation is starting to look like its old self again.

First is 49% stake in Yes Network, a new sports network to compete with ESPN

News Corporation is starting to look like its old self again.

The media conglomerate, which had been on its heels for more than a year because of the phone hacking scandal in Britain, is looking to make acquisitions again. First on the list could be a 49% stake in the Yes Network in New York, a purchase that could aid in the formation of a new nationwide sports network to compete with ESPN.

News Corporation’s stock has reached highs as the company prepares to transfer its underperforming publishing assets, including newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, into a separate publicly traded entity.

One of the crucial factors in the decision was that the split would allow Rupert Murdoch, the company’s chairman and chief executive, to buy into the businesses he loves without upsetting investors who are more interested in cable and broadcast. Potential targets include The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and more education companies.

“Rupert has his mojo back,” said Todd Juenger, a media analyst at Sanford C Bernstein. “The stock is up, investors are happy with the company’s recent decisions.”

“He is definitely rubbing his hands together,” a person with knowledge of News Corporation’s deal-making discussions said of Murdoch.

In the last several weeks, Murdoch has exuded a satisfaction and sure-footedness that people close to the company said they had not seen since before Murdoch’s British newspaper unit became embroiled in a phone hacking scandal. That is in part because hacking has been overtaken in the press by an unfolding scandal at the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The BBC, which Murdoch and his son James have frequently criticised, is accused of cancelling a news program’s segment about serial child molesting committed by longtime host Jimmy Savile, and broadcasting false reports of pedophilia about a member of Margaret Thatcher’s administration.

People close to Murdoch said he considered the BBC scandal karmic justice for months of negative coverage of News Corporation, and he has provided almost daily commentary via Twitter. “BBC getting into deeper mess,” he wrote on November 10.

And the BBC scandal touches another Murdoch rival — The New York Times, whose parent company’s new chief executive, Mark Thompson, served as director general at the BBC. Thompson’s replacement at the BBC, George Entwistle, resigned on November 11 after just 54 days on the job. “Look to new

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