10.08.2007 08:13 AM
Belo separates newspaper and TV station businesses

Last week, Belo announced it would split its print and television businesses. The company’s newspapers, including “The Dallas Morning News,” will move to new company called A.H. Belo. The existing Belo operation will keep the company’s 20 television stations and their Web sites.

Belo said the split was triggered by major changes now occurring in the media industry. In an earlier era, print publishing and broadcasting were seen as complementary businesses, causing media companies to own both types of properties.

That, however, has changed as the emergence of the Internet is causing a reinvention of both the newspaper and broadcast business models. Each media type is now the focus of a specific investor group.

“Dividing Belo into two companies will give investors a greater insight into two distinct businesses,” Robert Decherd, Belo’s chief executive, said on a call with analysts last week.

Decherd will become chairman and CEO of A.H. Belo and nonexecutive chairman of Belo. Dunia Shive, Belo chief operating officer, will become CEO of the new Belo. The two Belo companies have no plans to sell themselves, or cut editorial jobs because of the split, the executives said.

Analysts see the Belo split as an industry trend and predicted other newspaper publishers may follow. For example, the New York Times Co. sold its broadcast group in January.

“Other newspapers, I’m sure, read the details, and perhaps the CEOs are sitting in their armchairs saying, ‘What will I do now?’” Benchmark Co. analyst Ed Atorino told Reuters.

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