Murdoch hints at News Corp. acquisitions
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch is keen on making some additions to the publishing side of his media empire, which was formally split in half nearly a year ago.
"News Corp. is in the first sort of, transformational year," the 83-year-old mogul told Capital in a brief interview last night at the Time 100 gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center. "There'll be some interesting deals."
Asked if that means he's looking into further acquisitions, like News Corp's $25 million purchase of the social news agency Storyful this past December, Murdoch replied: "Absolutely. Print and web."
He declined to comment when pressed on whether he has his eye on any print titles in particular. News Corp. owns a host of papers including The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and Australia's Daily Telegraph.
Murdoch was one of legion luminaries present at the annual event, which recognizes the 100 people Time deems to be the world's most influential in a given year. (Murdoch himself is a past honoree.) He spoke with Capital during the tail end of cocktail hour as he was making his way into the dining room with former News Corp. flack–turned–Time Warner–executive Gary Ginsberg.
Come June 28, it will have been one year since News Corp. spun off most of its lucrative film and television assets into a new publicly traded company called 21st Century Fox. News Corp. will report its third-quarter earnings for fiscal year 2014 on May 8.
Last month, Murdoch shook things up with the announcement that his eldest son, Lachlan, 42, would return to the corporate fold as non-executive co-chairman of both companies, thus setting a succession strategy in motion.
Lachlan's first order of business?
"Just being beside me, and James," said Murdoch, referring to Lachlan's younger brother, who was recently elevated to the position of co-chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, sharing a role with but reporting to longtime lieutenant Chase Carey.
"Chase will stay for a few years," Murdoch continued. "The four of us will make a great team." (Murdoch is the chairman and chief executive of 21st Century Fox.)
Murdoch also doubled down on a recent remark in an interview with Fortune that his prized tabloid, the New York Post, might "quite likely" go digital-only in 10 years, though he qualified the potential milemarker as happening "when 80 percent of [the Post's] circulation [is] reading the paper digitally.
"It'll take time," he said.
The Post is a massive money-loser, and under the new News Corp., it's been shoring up its digital operation in a bid for scale.
The amount of red ink spilled every year is believed to be somewhere in the double-digit-millions range, but Murdoch said he was confident that the digital push would put the Post closer to the black: "Yeah. Absolutely."