News Corp to split in two on 28 June

Rupert Murdoch
Image caption Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is separating its publishing titles from its entertainment business

News Corp has announced it will officially split its publishing and entertainment businesses on 28 June.

Its board approved the separation into two firms, which will both be headed by the current chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch.

The publishing firm will retain the News Corp brand, while the other will be renamed 21st Century Fox.

Shareholders had voiced worries about the damage done by events at the News of the World.

News Corp said last year that it was separating its entertainment and publishing businesses, partly as a result of the UK phone-hacking scandal in 2011, in which journalists gained illegal access to the phone messages of many well-known people and allegedly bribed members of the UK police force.

It closed the News of the World newspaper in 2011 following the scandal.

"Today's announcement is a significant step in creating two independent companies with the world's leading portfolios of publishing and media and entertainment assets," said Mr Murdoch.

"We continue to believe that the separation will unlock the true value of both companies and their distinct assets, enabling investors to benefit from the separate strategic opportunities resulting from more focused management of each division," he added.

The new News Corp will be an independent publicly traded company and will have $2.6bn (£1.7bn) in cash when the separation is completed at the end of next month, the board said.

The publishing spin-off will retain its ownership of newspaper titles, including the Wall Street Journal and the Times newspapers in the UK.

The more lucrative TV and film business will include the US news channel Fox News and the 20th Century Fox film studio. Its services in Europe and Asia include Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and stakes in BSkyB and Tata Sky.

But 21st Century Fox will retain no ownership interest in News Corp, the board said.

In addition, the board approved the distribution of one share of the new News Corp for every four shares owned by News Corp's current investors.

It also authorised a $500m stock repurchase programme for the new News Corp following the separation.

Robert Thomson, a friend of Mr Murdoch, will lead the new publishing group as chief executive.

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