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Murdoch unveils the new News Corp

Rupert Murdoch will be executive chairman of the 'new' News Corp.

Story highlights

  • Murdoch has pitched the 'new' News Corp as a "chance to do it all over again"
  • Murdoch admitted to having made "spectacular" mistakes
  • The new company will have strong brands, global scale and be able to fund acquisitions according to executives

Rupert Murdoch has pitched the collection of publishing, advertising and Australian television assets he will spin off next month as a "chance to do it all over again", 61 years after he took over his father's Adelaide business with "one small newspaper and a very overdeveloped ambition".

The "new News Corp" unveiled a cursive logo based on the handwriting of Mr Murdoch and his father, and a motto -- "Passionate. Principled. Purposeful." -- as executives said it would have strong brands, global scale, a balance sheet capable of funding acquisitions and opportunities for its diverse units to work more closely together.

Mr Murdoch, the new company's executive chairman, admitted to having made "spectacular" mistakes, but reminded investors that he had defied doubters with launches such as BSkyB and Fox News, describing the new company's assets as "undervalued and under developed".

The new News Corp, seen by many analysts as the poor relation when compared with the television and film brands that will be renamed 21st Century Fox, would pursue "relentless" cost-cutting in its US, UK and Australian newspapers and "aggressive digital expansion", said Robert Thomson, chief executive.

The company, which last week announced authorisation for a $500m share buyback plan, gave few details of how it would spend the $2.6bn of cash in hand it expects to start with, but hinted at possible acquisitions.

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Noting that HarperCollins was the world's second-largest English language book publisher, Mr Thomson said: "We'll obviously have to do something about that."

Without commenting on News Corp's interest in Tribune's Los Angeles Times, Mr Murdoch said it could be interested in US newspaper acquisitions "if the price is right", but added that media ownership rules made such deals "pretty unlikely".

He added: "It's unthinkable that we'd be allowed to buy any newspapers in Britain," where investigations into phone hacking and other charges relating to its shuttered News of the World tabloid have cost it almost $300m in fees and settlements.

Days after disclosing a further $1.2bn-$1.4bn impairment charge against its Australian and US newspapers, executives said they expected no quick turnround in Australia's economy and said newspaper restructuring would take more than a couple of quarters.

But Mr Thomson defended print as "still a particularly powerful platform" and Bedi Singh, chief financial officer, predicted rising profit margins for each division.

Lex Fenwick, chief executive of its Dow Jones financial news and data business, gave more details of a planned online news and data service that he said would include a messaging product that could add to competition to Bloomberg's market-leading instant messaging service for finance professionals.

Without mentioning questions about Bloomberg's handling of clients' data, Mr Fenwick, a former Bloomberg chief executive, emphasised that messages would be "strictly stored on [clients'] servers [so] we can't see what you're saying to each other".

Mr Murdoch and Mr Fenwick also hinted at price rises for The Wall Street Journal, saying it was cheap compared with rivals.

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