News Corp. formally announced plans to split its entertainment and publishing businesses on Wednesday.
The plan, approved by the News Corp. board, would create two companies: one containing the rapidly growing and highly profitable entertainment and cable businesses; the other housing the low-growth publishing, newspaper, and education businesses.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp, will serve as chairman at both companies, and he will hold the CEO title at the entertainment division, which is parent to FOX News and a minority shareholder in British broadcaster BSkyB. Chase Carey, long Murdoch’s right-hand man, is slated to serve as president and COO of the entertainment division.
Rupert Murdoch told CNBC Thursday that after considering the pros and cons over the years, he reached the conclusion that the split is the “right thing to do.”
“What I became convinced of is that we can manage all the units of the company with greater concentration and better,” he said.
Although the company did not name a chief executive for the new publishing company, Murdoch said "I’ll be a pretty active chairman I assure you.” He added they have plenty of time to make a decision on who will run the publishing unit.
He also expects the growth of digital to help revitalize the publishing business, particularly as they charge for content. “When I first started talking about charging for the news on digital, people laughed at me and said it could never be done,” he said. “We are today having great revenues.”
Murdoch also alluded to changing the Wall Street Journal name. "The Wall Street Journal, which we may call the WSJ, will be a great global brand," he said.
In the wake of a phone-hacking scandalin Britain that tainted its British titles and forced News Corp to abandon its bid for BSkyB, there has been increasing pressure on the $60 billion conglomerate to get rid of its newspaper business. Murdoch said the scandal hasn't tainted the reputation of his son James.
Murdoch also said it would be lovely if one of his children succeeded him. But he added, "They've got to earn it."
—By CNBC.com's Justin Menza.