Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is to go ahead with plans to split into separate newspaper and entertainment operations, the company confirmed today.
In a statement, the company, which owns the Times, the Sun and a 39% stake in broadcaster BSkyB, said the board authorised management to explore the move last night.
It said the split would leave investors holding shares in a "world-class publishing company" and "an unmatched global media and entertainment company".
The publishing company would include News Corporation's newspapers and information businesses in the US, the UK and Australia and the company's book publishing brands.
The media and entertainment company would include its broadcast and worldwide cable networks, film and television production studios, TV stations and pay-TV businesses in Europe and India.
Mr Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp, said: "There is much work to be done, but our board and I believe that this new corporate structure we are pursuing would accelerate News Corporation's businesses to grow to new heights and enable each company and its divisions to recognise their full potential - and unlock even greater long-term shareholder value."
He went on: "We recognise that over the years, News Corporation's broad collection of assets have become increasingly complex.
"We determined that creating this new structure would simplify operations and greater align strategic priorities, enabling each company to better deliver on our commitments to consumers across the globe.
"I am 100% committed to the future of both the publishing and media and entertainment businesses and, if the board ultimately approves a separation, I would serve as chairman of both companies."
BSkyB shares have risen amid market speculation that the split will raise the possibility of News Corp reviving its plans to take full control of BSkyB having separated its broadcasting operations from its embattled UK newspaper arm, which has been the focus of the phone hacking scandal.