Reuters has an interesting report today about the rumors circulating that News Corp. could be the latest media giant contemplating some sort of downsizing. News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin is quoted vigorously denying such rumors, saying: "We don't believe synergy is dead. We have no intentions to split up." But if a major media operator's COO is forced to publicly deny such rumors, there's good reason to believe that there might be at least a little truth to them.
Any why not? After all, as I've noted here, here, and here, media deconsolidation is all the rage these days. The list of high-profile media divestitures and divorces continues to grow: AOL-Time Warner, Disney-Miramax, Cablevision, Viacom, Liberty Media, Sony, and on and on. They all have been pondering or carrying out major spin-offs or restructuring plans in recent months.
Personally, if I had to bet on it, I'd say News Corp. will not be downsizing any time soon. They have many successful and profitable properties and they do seem to do a somewhat better job creating "synergies" among the divergent branches of the firm than many of their competitors.
Nonetheless, don't be surprised if they spin-off a few assets in the near future. And, like I've said in previous posts, don't be surprised if you hear nothing but silence from the old Chicken Little media crowd about this. They say the whole world is going to hell whenever any media merger takes place, but they are nowhere to be found when the waves of divestitures and high-profile media divorces kick-in.