Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, will take board positions on the two companies that will emerge next month when News Corp splits into two, with the media conglomerate’s directors approving the spin-off plans yesterday.
The group’s newspapers – including The Times and The Sun in the UK and The Wall Street Journal in the US – along with its book publishing and Australian pay-TV and cable businesses, will be separated from its more profitable entertainment and broadcasting assets – whose 3D, computer-generated film Epic is currently on release – at the end of June.
The latter will be spun off into a new, publicly traded company called 21st Century Fox, while the publishing arm will retain the News Corp name.
The split follows the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of The News of the World, which was part of the company’s UK newspaper arm, in 2011. The separation still needs shareholder and some regulatory approval.
Rupert Murdoch will serve as the chairman and chief executive of 21st Century Fox, and executive chairman of the new News Corp. His sons, including James who stepped down from his position as the head of the UK newspaper arm last year following the hacking scandal, will be given board positions at both companies.
The publishing company’s board will also feature Ana Paula Pessoa, a partner at the Brunswick PR firm, and Robert Thompson, the former Times editor who will be chief executive of the new News Corp.
Shares in the publishing company will be distributed among shareholders at a ratio of one for every four shares they own in the combined group. The board also approved a $500m (£330.34m) share buyback program for the publishing arm.