News Corp. to Cut Jobs, Restructure its Australian Unit

News Corp. to Cut Jobs in Australia, Restructure Operations
Pedestrians walk past the News Ltd. headquarters in Sydney. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

News Corp., controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said it will cut jobs and restructure its Australian operations on the same day it offered to buy Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd. for A$2 billion ($2 billion).

News Ltd. will reduce staff via redundancies and attrition as it consolidates divisions to five from 19, the unit’s Chief Executive Officer Kim Williams said in a video address to staff broadcast by Sky News today. It will introduce new computer systems and streamline editorial desks to trim costs amid a downturn in advertising.

“We must change to create a viable and sustainable future,” Williams said, without detailing the number or timing of job cuts. “We are taking confident measures that are right for our future success.”

News Ltd., Murdoch’s Australian unit that controls more than half of the nation’s newspapers, is the latest media group to revamp its publications and eliminate staff as the rise of online platforms erodes demand for printed versions. Sydney-based Fairfax Media Ltd. this week said it would cut 22 percent of its workforce, close printing sites and charge for online content.

“These kinds of cuts and changes are reasonably inevitable, so the fact that they’re addressing how they can change their structure is a positive,” Angus Gluskie, who helps manage more than $350 million at White Funds Management in Sydney, said before News Ltd.’s announcement. “The difficult thing is having to make these changes in the midst of an advertising downturn, but advertising conditions won’t remain as tough as they are right now.”

A new editorial system will allow news stories to be published across several platforms including print, web and tablet, Williams said. He also confirmed the purchase of Australian Independent Business Media, publisher of the Business Spectator and Eureka Report websites.

News Corp.’s Australian-listed shares climbed 0.6 percent to A$20.15 as of 2:22 p.m. in Sydney. The company today offered to pay A$3.50 a share for Consolidated Media, 14 percent more than yesterday’s closing price.

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