RUPERT Murdoch retained his grip on News Corp last night, defeating shareholder calls for his roles of chairman and chief executive to be split despite a number of influential investors making their grievances known at the firm’s annual meeting.
Murdoch, whose family controls 40 per cent of News Corp’s voting rights, admitted the last 18 months had been “a difficult period in our company’s history” but boasted about News Corp’s performance, and invited disgruntled investors to sell out if they wanted to. “If you don’t buy the company then don’t buy the stock,” he said.
News Corp said the entire board had been re-elected, with motions from rebellious shareholders – for an independent chairman and an end to the firm’s dual-class share structure – quashed.
However, Murdoch’s claims that the current voting system actually works in smaller investors’ favour were met with outrage by some dissidents.
“The will of the majority of shareholders has ceased to be relevant,” a representative for British pension fund Hermes Equity said.
The details of the meeting, published last night, revealed that around 30 per cent of votes – a majority of independents – backed calls for Murdoch’s roles to be split.