UPDATE 2-Murdoch aims to defy naysayers with new News Corp

Tue May 28, 2013 6:01pm EDT
 
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By Jennifer Saba

May 28 (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch tried to convince Wall Street on Tuesday that there is still money to be made in newspapers, reminding investors that he had defied skeptics over the past 60 years to build one of the world's biggest media empires.

As News Corp prepares to separate its publishing business from its entertainment assets, Murdoch said that while some brands face individual challenges, as a whole the publishing portfolio is "undervalued and underdeveloped."

"I am not saying I didn't make many mistakes along the way -even some spectacular ones," Murdoch said at a meeting in Manhattan to sell investors on the new publishing company.

"You may be wondering why I want to do it all over again," the 82-year-old media mogul said. "The simple answer is: there is opportunity everywhere."

The new publishing company, which will retain the News Corp name, officially kicks off on June 28 with properties such as: The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, The Times of London, Australian pay-TV services, book publisher HarperCollins and fledgling education unit, Amplify.

The spin-off comes as newspapers face plunging advertising revenue and readers who increasingly prefer to get news for free on their smartphones and tablets. Shares of newspaper companies - once considered blue-chip investments - have tumbled over the past decade as investors fear a permanent drain in ad sales.

Against this backdrop, the publishing company's new chief executive, Robert Thomson, said there will be "relentless" cost cuts in store for the business. He gave no specifics.   Continued...