Revenue: $13.8 billion
Loss: $445 million
It’s been a heady summer for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The conglomerate just closed on its purchase of TV station group Chris-Craft, a deal that gives it 32 TV stations and duopolies in some major markets. It sold Fox Family, a money-losing cable network owned jointly with Haim Saban, to Walt Disney for more than $5 billion. That gives it an extra cash infusion to pursue the mother of all deals, a thus-far elusive merger with satcaster DirecTV.
News Corp. has been in talks with DirecTV parent G.M. for nearly two years. If a deal closes, as expected, this summer or early fall, the conglom will have scored three home runs. DirecTV would become the crucial U.S. platform in a company that folds together News Corp.’s giant international satellite operations, including BSkyB in the U.K. and Star TV in Asia.
Cable net Fox News has been steadily encroaching on CNN. News Corp. also owns a FX cable net and Fox Sports regional sports networks.
Twentieth Century Fox is having a nice run with “Planet of the Apes” and its TV production factory continues to rule in primetime. Publishing assets include HarperCollins in the U.S. and a stable of newspapers in Australia and the U.K. Following its buy of Chris-Craft, which gives it two Gotham stations, company may be forced to sell New York Post. Current regs forbid ownership of a broadcast and newspaper property in the same market. The Federal Communication Commission gave Murdoch two years to comply, but many think the rule will be history by then.
A tantalizing question is succession. Rupert’s son Lachlan, the elder and considered the heir apparent, was promoted to vice chairman earlier this year. And son James reigns over Star. For now, Rupe’s right-hand man, chief operating officer Peter Chernin, has things well in hand.