Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2002 (Revised June 2003)

News Corporation

by Bharat N. Anand and Kate Attea

Abstract

In 2001, News Corp. is the smallest of the major media and entertainment conglomerates, but it has the broadest global presence. In an effort to establish a major distribution presence in the United States, News Corp. had looked to acquire DirecTV, the largest U.S. direct broadcast satellite provider, in what many observers had considered would be a "transforming acquisition." After 20 months of trying to do so, and the recent competitive offer from Echostar, Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., withdrew the company's bid for DirecTV. This case describes how Murdoch has created a global empire from a single newspaper in Australia. News' major assets include its newspaper businesses, film and television production, satellite broadcasting, television channels, and book and magazine publishing. Also describes News' distinctive operating style and Murdoch's role in shaping the corporate culture. News Corp. must now confront three sets of questions. First, how important is it for News Corp. to establish a distribution presence in the United States, and should it pursue a different approach? Second, how should it tackle the deteriorating economics of two of its core businesses: newspapers and network television? Third, what will be the impact of recent repeals of cross-ownership restrictions in the media industry on News Corp.'s competitive position vis-a-vis other major conglomerates?

Keywords: Acquisition; Business Conglomerates; Globalization; Distribution; Organizational Culture; Family Ownership; Competition; Consolidation; Corporate Strategy; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Journalism and News Industry; United States; Australia;

Citation:

Anand, Bharat N., and Kate Attea. "News Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 702-425, April 2002. (Revised June 2003.)