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Analyst: Chernin ‘Likely’ to Leave News Corp.

29 Jan, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Peter Chernin

Citing the downturn in the global media market, including maturing DVD business, Pali Capital analyst Richard Greenfield said it is “increasingly likely” News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin would not remain on board when his contract expires this summer.

Though Chernin, who is chairman and CEO of Fox Entertainment Group — whose properties include 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment — has made no mention of departing, Greenfield said that with the passage of time in the current economy, chances for a major contract renewal diminish.

The executive reportedly earned more than $30 million in 2008, exceeding even the compensation of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. A longtime proponent of DVD, Blu-ray and digital distribution, Chernin has driven Fox to generate the bulk of News Corp.’s operating profits.

“Chernin’s departure would raise significant investor concern and could lead to other management changes at News Corp.,” Greenfield wrote in a note.

News Corp. reports financials Feb. 5.

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