Despite new accusations, News Corp looks solid
The financial impact of the scandal is minimal as News Corp does not rely on its publishing business for the majority of its value.
But more upheaval awaits. New accusations have emerged in the last couple of weeks, one from a London police official and another from Cherie Blair, wife of the former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair, accusing News Corp. of bribing and hacking phone lines, respectively.
The financial impact of the scandal appears to be minimal, since News Corp doesn't rely on publishing for the majority of its value. We estimate that the U.K. newspaper business constitutes less than 5% of News Corp's stock. News Corp competes with other media giants such as Disney (DIS) and CBS (CBS).
News Corp's recent earnings suggest that even though its newspaper business is on a decline, its cable networks and broadcasting businesses are doing well enough to compensate. This further suggests the diminishing importance of the business hounded by scandals. News Corp has replaced its previous Sunday tabloid in the U.K. with a new one, and is trying to rebuild its image and gain public trust.
Additionally, while the company continues with its share repurchase program, it may look at a new similar program once the current repurchase program is complete. Given its strength, investors are showing confidence in the stock, and the company is trying to send a positive signal to the market with this buyback announcement. This will help it mitigate the negative impact of the scandal surrounding its U.K. publishing unit.
Our price estimate for News Corp stands at $23.10, implying a little over 10% premium to the market price.
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The company is scrambling to protect its equities arm, which could face declining volume and revenue as competitors close the gap.
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