Murdoch Pay Package Rises to $28.3 Million After Breakup

Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire founder of News Corp., is eligible for $28.3 million in combined compensation next year, up 15 percent from 2013, as his media empire breaks up into two businesses.

Murdoch’s base pay in 2014 will amount to $8.1 million, with a bonus target of $12.5 million and a potential $7.7 million long-term incentive, the company said today in a filing. The figures include compensation from the new 21st Century Fox entertainment business of $7.1 million in base pay, a $10.5 million bonus and $5.7 million in long-term incentives.

Murdoch’s target compensation will rise from a total $24.6 million for fiscal 2013, which ends in June, the New York-based company said. His new pay package leans more heavily toward bonus incentives, while his base salary remains the same at $8.1 million. He will serve as chief executive officer and chairman of 21st Century Fox, while remaining chairman of the new News Corp.

Murdoch, who began building News Corp. more than a half-century ago with newspapers, gave in to shareholder pressure last year to separate the declining publishing division from his more profitable television and film businesses. The entertainment spinoff will include cable and broadcast networks, as well as the Twentieth Century Fox studio.

The publishing side of News Corp., which includes the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, will retain that name. That business will have $2.6 billion in cash and no debt, News Corp. said in March.

Losing Money

The new publishing company reported a pro forma net loss of $1.89 billion in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, with sales of $9.14 billion. The loss included $2.6 billion in writedowns, mostly reductions in the value of newspapers, highlighting the challenges facing Robert Thomson, who will become CEO of the new company after serving as managing editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Still, the company may use its cash to pursue additional newspapers. Murdoch, 82, is considering a bid for the Los Angeles Times, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. Tribune Co., which owns the Times as well as seven other dailies, would prefer selling its newspaper group in a single transaction, people said in March.

News Corp. shares rose 0.3 percent to $31.20 yesterday. The stock has climbed 22 percent this year.

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