Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. could be calling it quits in its relationship with the tech blog AllThingsD…or it could end up extending its contract as expected. Sources tell Reuters that the contract between the two companies is set to expire at the end of this year. Additionally, it’s reported that the publication is receiving ‘inbound interest’ from potential buyers.
Although run by co-executive editors Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD is wholly owned by Dow Jones and is a member of the Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network. Dow Jones, if you recall, was purchased by News Corp for $5 billion in August 2007. It added to Murdoch’s growing empire of media companies, including Fox News Channel, its financial network unit, the New York Post, and others.
Sources say that Swisher and Mossberg have been asked to deliver a business plan to News Corp by next week to Robert Thomson, the former Wall Street Journal managing editor who will be taking over News Corp’s publishing unit when it is spun off.
Companies that have been rumored to have expressed interest in the tech publication include Conde Nast and Hearst. Although there is some speculation that former Yahoo and News Corp executive Ross Levinsohn could be interested in bringing AllThingsD into Guggenheim Digital Media. His firm owns Billboard, Hollywood Reporter, and AdWeek.
Reuters has said that AOL could be a potential suitor, but AllThingsD has said previously that talks were “preliminary at best”.
Should a split occur, sources say that News Corp could retain the brand for itself, leaving Swisher and Mossberg to start anew, but Reuters says that in typical situations, a deal could be worked out that allow the founders to keep the name.
Besides reporting about technology, AllThingsD also puts on several regarded conferences each year. It recently held its Dive into Media event and one of the most sought-after tickets is its D Conference, which it has held for the past decade. It is at this meeting where industry bigwigs and innovators come to talk, including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and even Murdoch himself.
The news is interesting in the fact that News Corp. is in the middle of restructuring itself in the wake of its phone-hacking scandal last year. It has mulled over a proposal to split itself into two entities between its publishing and entertainment businesses. The Wall Street Journal says that while a final decision hasn’t been made, it’s believed that the publishing side will be smaller than its counterpart — something that has been slow-growing.
It could be that with all this shake up, some are thinking that AllThingsD could be an unfortunate casualty.
We’ve reached out to AllThingsD for comment and will update if we hear back.
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