News Corp. will pay cash dividend
Publishing company News Corp. said its finances are in good shape and that it would begin paying investors a semiannual cash dividend.
The move, announced Thursday, was welcome news. Newspaper revenues industrywide have been in steep decline, but the company controlled by Rupert Murdoch was designed to weather the storm that has been pummeling competing companies with print publications.
Two years ago, when Murdoch divided his media empire into two publicly traded companies — News Corp. and 21st Century Fox — he insisted that his publishing company be positioned for success with a strong balance sheet. News Corp. had no debt and $2 billion in cash on hand at the end of the March quarter, according to a Wells Fargo Securities analyst.
Murdoch’s company includes the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Times of London, a number of Australian newspapers, some Australian TV outlets and book publishing house HarperCollins.
The company said it expects to initiate a semiannual cash dividend of about 10 cents a share in the first quarter of its next fiscal year, which begins June 29. Payment will be made to shareholders during the October-December quarter. Last month, the company initiated a long-term stock buyback program of as much as $500 million.
“This decision by the board is a sign of confidence in the state of our business and faith in our prospects for the future,” News Corp. Chief Executive Robert Thomson said in a statement.
The Murdoch family controls 39% of the voting shares of News Corp.