News Corp (NWSA) Is Still a Buy at its 52-Week High: Time Warner Inc (TWX), The Walt Disney Company (DIS)

Media company News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) has been in the news all through February, and the trend seems to be continuing in March. The biggest news for the company, however, came in June 2012 when the company decided to unlock shareholder value and allow shareholders to benefit off its growing business. News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) announced its intention to pursue the separation of its publishing and media and entertainment businesses into two distinct publicly traded companies.

Until the time the two companies come into existence later this year, the company would be known by a double-barreled name, New News Corporation, which some think is not a precise and clear rebranding strategy.  Eventually, after the split, the company would reassume its original name, News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA), and the second company would reportedly be known as the Fox Group.

News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS)Recent news, however, is mostly related to deals, deals and deals, and the launch of a new sports channel. Let us have a brief look.

  • On Feb. 6, News Corp was named as a potential bidder, along with Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), for Permira Advisers’ 53% stake in ProSiebenSat.1 Media – a company valued at €5.43 billion.
  • The following week, Fox Networks announced a new comprehensive programmingdeal with Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) for delivering Fox Networks’ entertainment, sports and local news content to Comcast Xfinity TV customers across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and Internet-enabled televisions. The renewal pact signified the goal of both companies to deliver popular video content across platforms.
  • More recently, on March 2, The Wall Street Journal reported that News Corp was in talks with Disney over acquiring the other’s stake in Hulu, which is a joint venture between Comcast, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and News Corp. Disney wants the website to focus on its free service, which is supported by advertisements, while News Corp wants it to concentrate on its subscription business, Hulu Plus.

In between there have been reports about News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) ending or extending its partnership with the widely read technology blog, AllThingsD and unveiling its long pending plan of launching a new national sports channel.

On the sidelines, News Corp came up for mention when The New York Times decided to open up the process of selling the Boston Globe and related properties. While this was deemed necessary for avoiding shareholder lawsuits, people in knowledge said that NYT was hoping to draw in News Corp as a bidder, as it expected it to be interested considering that it was splitting its publishing business from other assets.

The latest in the series of News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) news is that the company will be announcing the sale of its 44% stake in New Zealand’s largest TV subscription business, Sky Network Television, for $600 million.

Beyond News

In its quarterly earnings report for the period ended December 2012, the company reported a net income of $2.4 billion, more than double what it reported for the same quarter the prior year, while sales increased by 5% to $9.4 billion. Income from the publishing division was $234 million, an increase of $16 million.

The company benefited from the February 2012 launch of the Sun on Sunday and also from the acquisition of the remaining 50% stakes in Fox Star Sports Asia and Fox Sports Australia. In the quarter, it took a charge of $56 million in lieu of costs pertaining to the News of the World hacking scandal – the total payout on this account now stands above $340 million.