NEW YORK - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. confirmed Tuesday that it is considering splitting into two publicly traded companies, driving shares to their highest level in 4 1/2 years.
The media conglomerate did not specify which businesses each company would contain. The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that a split would put the entertainment arm, including the 20th Century Fox film business and the Fox TV networks, into a separate company from News Corp.'s newspaper and book publishing businesses.
The entertainment business would include the Fox News, Sports and Business channels, the report said. The publishing businesses include the New York Post, The Times and Sun of London, the Dow Jones news service and the HarperCollins publishing imprints.
News Corp.'s entertainment business accounted for about 75 percent of the company's revenue in the first three months of the year.
The Wall Street Journal is also owned by News Corp. The newspaper said in its report, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter, that Murdoch has long opposed the idea but has warmed to it. His family controls about 40 percent of the company.
The discussions come as the company deals with an investigation into phone hacking by its U.K. newspapers. The phone hacking scandal has shaken Britain's media, police and political establishments.
Shares of News Corp., which is based in New York, gained $1.46, or 7.2 percent, to $21.54 in morning trading. Shares peaked earlier at $21.75, their highest level since December 2007.
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