Shares of Rupert Murdoch’sNews Corp.rose Tuesday after the company announced that it is considering dividing the massive media conglomerate into two separate, publicly traded companies. Shares closed up over 8 percent at the end of the trading day.
The split would separate the high margin cable and entertainment unit from the low margin, high risk publishing unit. It is expected that revenue from the entertainment unit would be roughly double that of the publishing.
With this potential split comes concern over what multiple should be assigned to each. Senior analyst at Lazard Capital, Barton Crockett considers entertainment assets to be strong: “They should trade at the higher end of comparable companies,” such as Discovery Communications. He notes that while the publishing business would be small, it could support a dividend yield based on comparable companies.
“The combination is supportive of a $24 price target for News Corp.,” Crockett told CNBC’s Kayla Tausche.
The split is a sign that the media company is separating from its newspaper roots, which is surprising considering CEO Murdoch’s historic roots in that industry. “It was doubtful they would go there as long as he was calling the shots, but they are,” Crockett said. “I think that shows he’s evolving with the times.”
This potential division announcement comes during the last week of their fiscal year, and close to the anniversary of News of the World closing.
“There are a number of parties who feel we push to look in a way to [spin] the publishing businesses separate from the rest,” News Corp.’s Carey said at the Deutsche BankConference this past February. Many investors have stated their desire for Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey to take over as executive of the cable and entertainment unit. Murdoch’s children, Elizabeth and James, are expected to stay senior News Corp. executives with the entertainment unit.
—By CNBC.com’s Theresa McCartney
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Barton Crockett does not own any News Corp. stock.