If media mogul Rupert Murdoch left News Corp. it would actually benefit the company's stock price, according to analysts.
The company is currently valued at approximately 41 billion, but if each of the properties was evaluated separately the company could be worth up to double what it is now.
By using Barclays PLC and Gabelli & Co estimates, News Corp should actually be worth somewhere in the $62 to $79 billion range. The reason why the company isn't reaching its potential is Rupert Murdoch, according to one analyst.
There's just sort of this generic Murdoch discount, which encompasses the concern that he will make decisions that are not consistent with other shareholder interests, Davenport & Co. analyst Michael Morris told Bloomberg News. The sum of the parts on News Corp. is huge compared with where the stock trades.
News Corp's stock price has continued to drop after the News of the World scandal began. News of the World had hacked into the voicemail of a kidnapped 13-year old girl, causing massive backlash and multiple executives to resign. Les Hinton, the respected CEO of Dow Jones, was just the latest to have to resign due to the scandal.
Murdoch has received criticism in the United Kingdom, where the Milly Dowler phone-hacking case originated and the United States as politicians have called for Murdoch to be investigated.
Rupert Murdoch made a point to say that News Corp. is not Rupert Murdoch. It is the collective creativity and effort of many thousands of people around the world. But investors still identify him most with the company, so when he is involved in a scandal it affects the whole company.
This kind of constant trouble with Murdoch has caused the stock price to drop to $15.04 at 11.05 a.m. on Monday, much lower than what it could be worth. If each property was evaluated separately and Murdoch wasn't a factor, the company could be trading for $29 a share, according to Gabelli & Co.
That price is almost double the current trading price of News Corp. shares.
Will Murdoch Ever Leave?
Murdoch has given no indication that he plans on leaving anytime soon though.
An even further issue is that his son, James, has been groomed as the heir apparent to News Corp. There has been some recent speculation that chief operating officer Chase Carey could take over as CEO and force Murdoch into a chairman's role. This has been speculated as an option if James Murdoch proves to be too toxic from his role in the phone-hacking scandal.
But even if Murdoch moves on to chairman and James doesn't become CEO, the Murdoch family still will be in control with a 38 percent stake in the company. This kind of power means that a Murdoch family member will likely always be influencing News Corp, even if investors wished otherwise.
Murdoch has tried to play dumb over the phone-hacking scandal that has brought his media conglomerate to a screeching halt. His company his taken a major reputation hit, he's lost two of his most trusted lieutenants, and worst of all is the Rupert Murdoch fear factor might finally be dissipating.
We'll see more pressure on Murdoch now, Tullet Prebon chief executive officer Terry Smith told Bloomberg. One of the things that's kept people away is that he has a powerful media presence, and people are fearful of crossing swords with him. Much of that fear is gone now.