November 28, 2020

Shareholders Approve Plan to Split News Corp.

Shareholders attended a special meeting at the media company’s New York headquarters early Tuesday where they voted in favor of the formation of two separate companies. The larger company, 21st Century Fox, will include Fox Broadcasting, cable channels like Fox News and FX, and the Hollywood studio; a newly formed News Corporation will contain newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, the HarperCollins publishing company and a handful of Australian television assets.

Investors have for years grumbled that many of News Corporation’s more than 120 newspapers were a drag on the company, in contrast to the strong performance of its cable television assets. Those complaints became more pronounced in July 2011 when a phone hacking scandal erupted at the company’s British newspaper division, prompting the chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, to abruptly close News of the World, one of News Corporation’s most profitable papers.

“With the split of our company, and the birth of the new News Corp., I have been given the extraordinary opportunity most people never get in their lifetime: the chance to do it all over again,” Mr. Murdoch told investors at a News Corporation investor day held May 28.

The vote on Tuesday was partly a foregone conclusion. The Murdoch family controls 39.4 percent of the company’s Class B voting shares. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia controls another 7 percent and typically votes in support of the Murdoch family.

Representatives from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a charitable organization and institutional investor that owns 3,686 Class B voting shares, on Tuesday protested the dual-class stock structure that allows the Murdoch family to control voting. That structure will also exist in both 21st Century Fox and the new News Corporation.

The company is expected to split officially on June 28.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/business/media/shareholders-approve-plan-to-split-news-corp.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Rich and Proud of It, Saudi Billionaire Prefers Bloomberg’s To Forbes

It’s report card time for the world’s billionaires and one contender is balking about his grades. But as journalism about the world’s wealthy grows, this billionaire now can take his complaints to a competitor.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia who appeared in the Forbes annual billionaire’s list published this week said that he will no longer cooperate with Forbes on its lists and asked that he no longer be included in the rankings. As a dig to Forbes, he has promised to continue to cooperate with Bloomberg on its far newer billionaire rankings.

After the Forbes rankings were posted online on Monday, the prince announced in a news release that his team has worked with Forbes for the last six years and uncovered what they called “intentional biases and inconsistencies in the Forbes valuation process.” The prince added that “he could no longer participate in a process which resulted in the use of incorrect data and seemed intended to disadvantage Middle Eastern investors and institutions.”

A spokeswoman for Forbes Media noted that the prince has plenty to be pleased about: his ranking rose to 26 for a $20 billion net worth from a ranking of 29 the year before for a net worth of $18 billion. The spokeswoman said it’s just $9.6 billion less than the prince claims he is worth.

On Tuesday morning, Forbes released an article that showed just how long this battle has been simmering between Forbes and its editors. Kerry A. Dolan, who reports on the wealthy and the Forbes billionaire’s list, wrote that Forbes has engaged with the prince over “a quarter century of lobbying, cajoling and threatening when it comes to his net worth listing.” Ms. Dolan added that “of the 1,426 billionaires on our list, not one — not even the vainglorious Donald Trump — goes to greater measure to try to affect his or her ranking.” In one case, the prince grew so upset about a prior ranking that “he called me at home the day after the list was released, sounding nearly in tears. ‘What do you want?’ he pleaded.”

Ms. Dolan said that Forbes had started to further investigate the prince’s net worth based on the guidance of former employees who noted that, based on fluctuations in his company’s stock price, that he was using the public company to inflate his net worth. In fact, the magazine tracked how the prince’s company’s stock price seems to rise in the ten weeks before Forbes locks in its values for the billionaire’s list.

A Forbes spokeswoman said that it would continue to feature the prince on future lists. Mike Perlis, president and chief executive officer of Forbes, added that the prince had an amicable interview with Steve Forbes before a crowd of several hundred tycoons during the Forbes Global CEO conference in Dubai in October.

But moving forward, the prince announced he would cooperate with Bloomberg on its billionaires list. Bloomberg just started publishing a billionaires’ list last March after Matthew G. Miller, former global wealth editor at Forbes Media, moved there and started tapping into Bloomberg’s 2,400 journalists to contribute. The prince said in a statement that he would continue to work with Bloomberg because they use “a more accurate method of calculating financial holdings.”

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/rich-and-proud-of-it-saudi-billionaire-leaves-forbes-list-for-bloombergs/?partner=rss&emc=rss