Shareholder unrest voiced at News Corp

October 16, 2012
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch faced calls to give up some of his control at the News Corp. conglomerate at a shareholder meeting that was unlikely to change the balance of power.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch faced calls to give up some of his control at the News Corp. conglomerate at a shareholder meeting Tuesday that was unlikely to change the balance of power.

Dissident shareholders introduced resolutions for a split in the role of chairman and chief executive—both held by Murdoch—or to change the dual classes of stock which give Murdoch and his family effective control of the firm.

It marked the second year in a row that Murdoch has faced criticism from shareholders in the wake of a phone hacking scandal in Britain which led to the closure of one newspaper and is the subject of a major ongoing investigation.

Still, there was little doubt about the outcome of the revolt, as Murdoch and his family hold about 40 percent of the voting power and a Saudi prince who supports him owns another seven percent.

Murdoch acknowledged what he called "mishaps" in the hacking case but said his company had "worked very hard to make amends."

Still, some shareholders said the scandal had highlighted weak and should prompt changes.

Julie Tanner of the socially responsible Christian Brothers Investment Services urged shareholders to vote to create an independent chairman's position.

"We believe that having a CEO serve as chair presents a and is an impediment to a strong, independent board, whose primary job is to monitor management on behalf of all shareholders," she said.

"The failure of internal controls has had real and lasting . It has shuttered a newspaper, launched criminal investigations, cancelled the BSkyB acquisition, eroded and tarnished the company's reputation."

Murdoch responded that while many firms in Britain have an independent chairman, in the United States "about 70 percent" of publicly traded companies have a combined CEO and chairman.

Murdoch did not shy away from his criticism of dissident shareholders when asked about comments he made on Twitter in recent days.

"When you buy the stock, you know what the company is," he said in response to one shareholder. "If you don't like it, don't buy the stock."

Last week, Murdoch tweeted that "any shareholders with complaints should take profits and sell."

The meeting introduced former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe and former US labor secretary Elaine Chao, who were nominated for the board of directors.

Murdoch also said the move to split the company into an entertainment division and a separate group focused on publishing was proceeding and that there would be more information on management of those units by year's end.

Explore further: Myspace purchase a 'huge mistake': Murdoch

Related Stories

Myspace purchase a 'huge mistake': Murdoch

October 21, 2011

News Corp's purchase of Myspace was a "huge mistake" and the social network was mismanaged "in every possible way" following the acquisition, chief executive Rupert Murdoch said Friday.

James Murdoch steps down as BSkyB chairman

April 3, 2012

(AP) -- Media executive James Murdoch, under pressure over his role in Britain's tabloid phone hacking scandal, has stepped down as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting PLC, the company announced Tuesday.

BSkyB declares itself 'fit and proper'

May 2, 2012

(AP) -- British Sky Broadcasting PLC on Wednesday defended itself as a "fit and proper" company, a day after Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive of the satellite broadcaster's biggest shareholder, was branded as unfit to ...

News Corp. confirms it's considering split in 2

June 26, 2012

(AP) — Under pressure to limit contagion from the British phone hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. confirmed Tuesday that it is considering splitting into two publicly traded companies.

News Corp. seeks dismissal of lawsuit over hacking

September 19, 2012

(AP)—News Corp. attorneys are asking a Delaware judge to dismiss a shareholder lawsuit alleging that company directors allowed a damaging cover-up of the phone hacking scandal in Britain.

UK regulator finds BSkyB 'fit and proper' (Update)

September 20, 2012

(AP)—British Sky Broadcasting is a "fit and proper" company to hold an operating license, U.K. regulators said Thursday in response to the phone hacking scandal that engulfed the parent company. But it criticized the former ...

Recommended for you

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.