Shareholders reject vote equality


A proposal to give current non-voting Class A shares the same voting rights as Class B shares at News Corporation found little support at Friday’s annual shareholders meeting. The proposal, which was opposed by Rupert Murdoch and the company’s board, was voted down 77% to 23%.

There was quite a bit of talk about News Corporation’s newest project, Fox Business News, during the session. Activist investor Evelyn Davis tried to pry some additional information from CEO Murdoch about just where he wants FBN to go with its programming, but he declined to offer specifics, calling it "a work in progress." Murdoch later said he expects News Corporation to spend up to 200 million on FBN over the next three to four years as it tries to topple CNBC from leadership in business TV, just as Fox News Channel did with CNN in all news TV.
But while traditional media is still strong for News Corporation, new media is growing fast. Murdoch said he would not be surprised to see revenues for Fox Interactive Media top one billion bucks in the new fiscal year.

TVBR observation: Although Murdoch only holds about 30% of the voting shares at News Corporation, it is hardly surprising that most other Class B shareholders joined with him in refusing to eliminate the dual class share structure. There are slightly less than one billion Class B shares outstanding, but around 2.2 billion Class A. So, the Class B shareholders – who were the only ones who got to vote – were being asked to dilute their own voting power to less than a third of what they currently have.