News Corp. divestiture is dead


JC Decaux and News Corporation have called off talks to have Decaux, the world’s 2nd largest outdoor advertising company, buy News Corporation’s billboard business in Russia. The culprit? The worldwide credit crisis.

A joint announcement yesterday summed it up: “Both companies recognize that economic and capital market conditions have made it increasingly difficult to conclude strategic partnerships on this scale.”

The “scale” was rumored to be in the neighborhood of $1 billion. News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch has stated publicly that he doesn’t think much of the climate for doing business in Russia, but it looks like he is stuck with staying there for a while longer. The Moscow headquarters of the outdoor company, News Outdoor Group (NOG), was raided last month by the prosecutor general’s office in an investigation into the activities of a local government official, although NOG has said it is not the subject of any potential prosecution.

In addition to Russia, NOG has operations across Eastern Europe and parts of Asia.