SBD/30/Finance

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).  

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