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  • NEWS CORP. ANNOUNCES FOX IPO: HOPES TO BRING IN $2-4B

              News Corp. unveiled plans Monday for a stock offering
         to include 20% of its film, broadcasting and sports assets 
         -- including the Dodgers -- in a deal that could raise "up
         to" $2B for the company, which would be called the Fox
         Group, according to Sallie Hofmeister of the L.A. TIMES. 
         Last year, broadcasting and film accounted for "about half"
         of News Corp.'s $13B in revenue.  Paine Webber analyst
         Christopher Dixon said that "should it be valued comparably
         to CBS, Time Warner or Viacom," the Fox Group would be worth
         $16-20B.  Following the announcement, shares in News Corp.
         went up 12%, or $3.56 per share, closing at $33.06 (L.A.
         TIMES, 6/30).  CNN's Donald Van De Mark reported that
         included in the Fox Group are the RSNs that Fox co-owns with
         Liberty Media, the Dodgers and options to buy minority
         stakes in the Lakers and NHL Kings ("Moneyline," 6/29). 
              WHAT IT MEANS: The company said that proceeds from the
         sale "are likely to be used to repurchase News Corp. stock,
         pay down debt and possibly fund more acquisitions" (WALL
         STREET JOURNAL, 6/30).  In L.A., Dave McNary writes that
         analysts believe that Murdoch's "goal" is to "obtain more
         broadcast rights and programming assets."  McNary also
         writes that "if Murdoch's recent moves are any indication,"
         most of the money from the IPO "will be used to expand his
         power over professional sports" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/30). 
         Also in L.A., Sallie Hofmeister reports that sources say
         News Corp. "is preparing to buy out its cable partners in
         PrimeStar Inc." (L.A. TIMES, 6/30).  In N.Y., Phyllis Furman
         cites "huge expenses," including Fox's $4.4B NFL TV deal as
         a reason for the IPO (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/30).  CNN's Donald
         Van De Mark reported that Murdoch "wants to pay down debt
         and buy back News Corp. stock" ("Moneyline," CNN, 6/29).
              REAX: Mark Greenberg, Portfolio Manager at Ivesco
         Leisure Fund, a News Corp. shareholder: "The move makes a
         lot of sense because it will allow News Corp. to raise money
         without [News Corp. Chair Rupert] Murdoch having to give up
         control."  Cowen & Co. Analyst Gary Farber: "It's all about
         stock simplification.  News Corp. may be later to the party
         than the rest of the guys, but they will benefit" (HOLLYWOOD
         REPORTER, 6/30).  First Union Capital Markets analyst Bishop
         Cheen: "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out
         that these assets are worth more if they're separated out. 
         There's a lot of value that's lost by being part of the huge
         [News Corp.] umbrella" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/30).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, CBS, Finance, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Liberty, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Time Warner, Viacom
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