Nervous Tics as NewsCorp Ratchets 'Poison Pill' Defense

12 August 2005

A severe attack of Malone Syndrome - characterized by recurring nervous twitches - has beset media giant News Corporation, causing it to extend for a further two years its 'poison pill' anti-takeover defense.

In a press statement Wednesday, NewsCorp explained that the move is intended to block "potential future acquisitions of significant amounts of NewsCorp voting stock by [John Malone's] Liberty Media International without consultation with the board."

According to NewsCorp, the anti-Malone maneuver will remain in place until the parties "reach a favorable resolution with respect to Liberty's ownership stake."

Last November, Liberty revealed it had built a voting stake in NewsCorp of nearly 18% - too close for the Murdoch family's comfort to the 29.5% holding through which it controls the company. But neither side has been able to agree what will be done with the potential Trojan Horse.

Says patriarch Murdoch: "[If Mr Malone] is a long-term investor, he's very, very welcome and if he wishes to sell, or come up with a scheme to distribute, we'll be very happy to cooperate in a friendly way. But until that is decided, we're keeping the stockholders [poison pill] plan in place."

  • News Corporation yesterday reported strong fiscal fourth-quarter results. Net income for the period ended June 30 soared 67% year-on-year to $717 million (€581m; £400m) from $429m. Revenue increased 12% to $6.11 billion from $5.47bn.

    Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff