Time Warner changes rules to make it tougher for 21st Century Fox to buy

Oliver Smith
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Curb Your Enthusiasm is among the shows produced by Time Warner's studio HBO
Time Warner last night changed its company bylaws to make it more difficult for 21st Century Fox to pressure the firm into a takeover.

The media giant has axed for one year a rule allowing shareholders holding at least 15 per cent of its shares to call a special meeting – a measure that could have been used by Rupert Murdoch’s firm to force investors to meet to discuss its desire to buy the firm.

Fox made an unsuccessful $80bn offer for Time Warner, owner of Warner Bros film studio and TV channel HBO, last month.

Time Warner investors said last week that Murdoch might have to raise his $85-a-share bid to as much as $95 a share and boost its cash component to complete a takeover of the group.

Meanwhile, chief executive Jeff Bewkes could be in line for more than $79m (£46.3m) in bonuses if Fox’s takeover of the business goes ahead. Bewkes’ so-called parachute payment is described in the company’s annual filings and depends on the firm’s share price.

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