Breakingviews

The Economist’s elite owners seek elite print run

July 28, 2015

The Agnellis, the Rothschilds, et al may buy more as Pearson sells. A 6 pct dividend yield has appeal. If the valuation – recently 730 mln stg – and payout are to keep rising, however, the weekly has to succeed where other publications have failed and turn its top line around.

Review: Fixing the CIA – a novel approach

December 26, 2014

Could an outsider best reform the CIA in the wake of torture revelations? In David Ignatius’ novel “The Director,” a pro-privacy tech CEO tries to drag an agency that has lost its way into a new world of tighter rules, leaky secrets and cyberthreats. Good idea, uneven results.

Review: Through a distorting mirror, darkly

November 14, 2014

William Gibson’s novel “The Peripheral” paints future worlds that are built of present fears writ large. Algorithms not only roil financial markets, they travel in time. Nanotech eats people. Money corrupts and spies surveil, even more than now. Yet human decency has a chance.

Gannett split puts digital on wrong side of divide

August 5, 2014

The media company is spinning off newspapers, including USA Today, to unburden its TV arm. Cars.com, which Gannett is buying at a $2.5 bln valuation, would have buffered the weaker half in a similar way to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp carve-up. Instead, print must stand on its own.

Gannett carve-up is just a matter of Time

June 5, 2014

The $6.6 bln owner of USA Today isn’t getting credit for its TV transformation. Apply broadcaster valuations, and the newspapers are all but ignored by investors. As Time Warner sets free its publishing arm this week, a Breakingviews analysis suggests Gannett should do the same.

Murdoch all but erases discount he inflicted

June 26, 2012

When the phone-hacking scandal struck News Corp and its shares last year, a Breakingviews calculator found the company trading in the market at about 30 pct less than its sum-of-the-parts value. Plans to spin off the publishing arm may complete an improbable run to close the gap.

Murdoch deal is a non-core disposal – not a split

June 28, 2012

After Brangelina or bananas split, two more or less equal halves remain. To suggest that News Corp’s doing anything similar sounds more like wishful journalistic thinking than clear arithmetic. The Printco’s value amounts to no more than around 6 pct of News Corp’s market cap.

Who will run Murdoch’s grand newspaper spinoff?

September 25, 2012

With a key UK regulatory judgment on BSkyB out of the way, News Corp can focus on cleaving its newspaper empire. Critically for investors, that means picking a CEO. Wall Street Journal boss Robert Thomson appears in pole position. His appointment would spark a chain reaction.

Scardino exit reignites FT sale speculation

By Hugo Dixon
October 3, 2012

Pearson’s departing CEO famously said she would sell the Financial Times “over my dead body”. The chairman is also fond of the pink paper, and her successor has been at the group for 15 years. Still, post Scardino, Pearson will be less attached to the barely profitable paper.

FT sale would defy today’s financial times

October 4, 2012

With the exit of the CEO of Pearson, the pink newspaper’s parent company, chances rise that the FT will change hands. But valuing it on standard industry metrics won’t reveal its worth to billionaires and media giants. The paper’s trophy status could make it a 1 bln pound asset.