A front-page Wall Street Journal article on News Corp.'s plan to spin off its publishing assets reports, "The publishing company could be worth around $3 billion...according to analyst estimates."
Wow. News Corp. bought Dow Jones five years ago, in 2007, for about $5.6 billion. It then sold the index business for about $600 million [Update and correction: $600 million was the domestic index business; the foreign index business brought another $300 million, for a total of $900 million] and wrote-down the value of Dow Jones by $2.8 billion.
If the $3 billion estimate is correct, it means that either Dow Jones is worth even less than had been thought, or that the other publishing assets in the deal — HarperCollins, a book publisher with $1 billion in annual revenue; the New York Post, which is the seventh-largest newspaper in America, with a higher average circulation than the Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News, or the Chicago Tribune (and which the Wall Street Journal consistently omits when listing News Corp's publishing assets); all those newspapers in Australia and in Great Britain, including the Times of London, the Sunday Times, and the Australian — aren't worth much, either, especially since the publishing spinoff is said by the Journal to be debt-free.
Everyone, including me, likes to criticize the Sulzberger family's management of the New York Times Company, and in many cases the criticism is warranted. But if in fact all those publishing assets named above are worth only $3 billion, then the decline in their value since 2007 is probably as bad, and maybe even worse, than the performance of the New York Times company over the same period.