News Corp publishing arm to have $2.6 billion in cash

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp said on Friday that the publishing arm it plans to spin off from its entertainment assets will have about $2.6 billion in cash on hand and no debt when it becomes an independent company.

The new details on the publishing company were provided a regulatory filing.

The publishing company faces challenges as readers turn to smart phones and tablets to get their news and advertisers are spending their dollars elsewhere. Investors and analysts had been waiting for financial details to see how much cash and debt News Corp would put toward the slower growth asset.

The media company announced last June the plan to split its publishing and entertainment assets into two publicly traded companies. The spinoff company will be traded on the Nasdaq, while shares will also be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. The trading symbol is still unknown.

The amount of cash the new publishing company will have is more than three times the $741 million that the publishing division currently has on hand as of December 31, 2012.

News Corp as a whole had $7.8 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2012.

News Corp also said the Fox Group, the larger entertainment company, will be responsible for any payments related to the civil cases and any investigations around the phone hacking scandal.

The publishing division includes newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, book publisher HarperCollins, its education arm and some Australian broadcast assets. This new company will retain the News Corp name. The entertainment businesses, which include 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcasting network and Fox News channel, will be called the Fox Group.

(Reporting By Liana B. Baker and Jennifer Saba; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Alden Bentley)