Rupert Murdoch's News Corp said the publishing arm it plans to spin off from its entertainment assets would have lost $2.08 billion in the last fiscal year if it were a standalone company.
"New News Corp", as the company dubs its publishing wing, will include newspapers, information marketing services, digital real estate, book publishing, digital education, and sports programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia, the company said on Friday.
The loss included an impairment charge of around $2.6 billion, News Corp said in a filing, but it added that revenue fell 5 per cent, hit by the 2011 closure of the News of the World paper after the UK phone hacking scandal, and lower revenues at its Australian papers.
The unit would have reported a net loss of $92 million in the three months to September 30, it said. It would have been profitable in fiscal 2011 to the tune of $678 million.
The publishing division includes the HarperCollins book publisher, its education arm headed by former New York schools chancellor Joel Klein, and newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, the Sun, the New York Post and the Australian.
New Corp filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday to separate its publishing and entertainment assets into two publicly traded companies.
Robert Thomson, a close confidant of Murdoch and currently managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and editor in chief of its publisher Dow Jones & Co, will lead the new publishing company.
News Corp said in June that it would separate its publishing and entertainment assets after shareholders pressed it to get rid of its troubled newspaper business.
The phone hacking scandal erupted at the News Of The World last year, forcing it to close the paper in July and drop its proposed purchase of the rest of BSkyB, its British pay-TV network.
News Corp's film and television businesses currently include the 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcasting network and Fox News channel.
Shares of the company closed at $25.42 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.
Copyright @ Thomson Reuters 2012