Speculation as NewsCorp Unloads Eight Fox TV Stations

16 July 2008

NEW YORK: News Corporation revealed Tuesday it had completed the disposal of eight of its regional Fox affiliate TV stations to private equity group Oak Hill Capital Partners for $1.1 billion (€691.22m; £555.21m).

Post-sale, the Murdoch family-controlled media conglomerate continues to own and operate twenty-seven stations, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix.

Some observers are intrigued as to Clan Murdoch's rationale for the sale, especially in the light of what are seemingly benevolent recent trading numbers.

In its latest full quarter (to May) NewsCorp earned $2.69bn versus $871 million in the year-ago period – albeit that the former result owed much to the disposal of its stake in DirecTV to Liberty Media.

There is speculation that the Fox sale cash was needed to plug an embarrassing gap in current quarter trading.

Alternatively, that it could be used to fund yet another acquisition - a slab of Yahoo, perhaps?

Data sourced from Business Week / Associated Press (online); additional content by WARC staff