Murdoch seeks to defy critics of News Corp publishing division

RUPERT Murdoch has claimed there is still plenty of life in the publishing division of News Corp, as it is set to be hived off from the more profitable TV and film arms.

Speaking at News Corp’s annual investor day in New York yesterday, Murdoch said that while the division faces challenges, it remains “undervalued and underdeveloped”.

Next month Murdoch’s media empire will be split in two. News Corp’s lucrative TV and film divisions will be known as 21st Century Fox, while the company’s UK, US and Australian papers – which include The Sun, The Times and The Wall Street Journal – and book publisher HarperCollins will be spun off, retaining the name News Corp.

The 82-year-old attempted to defy those who said the split was simply to protect 21st Century Fox from the fallout of the phone hacking scandal, saying, “there is opportunity everywhere”.

“I have been given an extraordinary opportunity most people never get in their lifetime: the chance to do it all over again,” Murdoch added.

However, the new chief executive of the publishing division, Robert Thomson, said there would be “relentless” cost cuts in some parts of the business and that he would pursue profit above all.