News Corp approves split plan, report claims: Midday roundup

News Corp has approved in principle a split of the company to divide its entertainment and publishing divisions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The publication says the split could be announced tonight, with the company to place 20th Century Fox, Fox Broadcast and the Fox News Network from the publication division, which would contain The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, Australian newspapers, and HarperCollins.

The move comes after the company faced major scandals among its publications, including the phone-tapping scandal in Britain.

The company’s shares have hit a four-year high following the announcement, with its Australian shares lifting 3.37% this morning to $22.22.

Job vacancies decline in May quarter

Job vacancies have fallen in the three months to May, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The data shows the total number of vacancies fell 2.6% to 174,700, while the number of private sector vacancies was at 158,600 in May, down 2.6% from February.

There were also 16,100 vacancies in the public sector in May.

Shares rise after positive US lead

The Australian sharemarket has risen higher this morning following a positive lead from the United States, where shares have risen on good news in the housing industry – and in anticipation of a debt summit in Europe.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 19.9 points or 0.5% to 4063.1 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar rose to $US1.01.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92 points or 0.7% to 12,627.

Metcash profit sinks in 2012

Metcash has posted a significant drop in full-year profit, down 62% to $90 million for the 12 months ending April 2012.

The company also said revenue had fallen 0.8% to $12.3 billion, even though sales rose and underlying profit actually increased by 2.5% to %262.5 million.

In a statement to the ASX, the company said EBITDA had risen 3% to $451.2 million, but that full-year profit was down due to the difficult retail environment, along with costs associated with its restructure.

“Over the last 12 months, the group has dealt with a range of challenging issues, including weak consumer sentiment, the strong Australian dollar and a marketing war between the two national grocery chains, which has contributed to the deflation experienced in dry grocery and fresh product,” the company said.

Webjet to open in Dubai

Online travel company Webjet has said it will set up a new venture in Dubai, called Lots of Hotels.

The new business has taken an initial investment of $1.5 million, and is expected to generate $20 million its first year, the company said.


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