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News Corp 'considering splitting into two'

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is thinking of splitting into two companies, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

A final decision on the split has not been made, the US newspaper said, adding that the Murdoch family is not expected to lose its effective control of any of the businesses involved.

The company plans to separate its publishing assets from its entertainment businesses, the report said.

The split would mean News Corp's film and television businesses will be carved off from its newspapers, book publishing assets and education businesses.

The film and television businesses include 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcast network and Fox News channel, while its publishing business includes the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and HarperCollins book publishing.

Murdoch had earlier opposed the move, but has recently warmed to the idea, the journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation.

Phone hacking

Murdoch and his company have been embroiled in a phone hacking scandal at its UK newspapers that has reverberated throughout the wider New York-based media conglomerate.

The hacking scandal that caused the inquiry has already led to the arrest of tens of News Corp staff in Britain.

The fallout from the scandal has also disrupted what was thought to be a smooth plan for Murdoch to be succeeded as chief executive by his youngest son, James.

Australian stock in News Corp. jumped 2.41 per cent on Tuesday after the report. Its Australian-listed shares closed 49 cents higher at Aus$20.79 ($20.84), having risen as high as Aus$21.00 following the report.

Last month, News Corp reported a strong gain in quarterly profits, boosted by Hollywood entertainment and cable television operations in the US, Asia and Latin America.

The conglomerate said profits in the fiscal third quarter ending March 31 leapt 47 per cent to $937m, as revenues rose two per cent to $8.4bn..


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