NewsCorp Activists Rebel over Murdoch's 'Poison Pill'

25 October 2005

Rupert Murdoch has weathered a storm of protest by angry shareholders over News Corporation's 'poison pill' defence strategy against US cable TV mogul John Malone.

Patriarch Murdoch's confrontation with investors took place at NewsCorp's first annual meeting in the USA following its reincorporation from Australia to Delaware.

More than 15% of shareholders registered their displeasure at the extension of the 'pill' by voting against the re-election of four directors, including chief operating officer Peter Chernin and Sir Rod Eddington, former ceo of British Airways.

Murdoch defended his controversial strategy claiming it was designed to protect small shareholders. Others believe he is more interested in safeguarding his own family's 29% controlling stake in NewsCorp. Malone's Liberty Media now owns 18% of the company's voting shares - too close for Clan Murdoch's comfort.

NewsCorp also faces legal action by major investors across the globe over its decision to extend the 'pill' for up to two years [WAMN: 11-Oct-05]. They claim the company's chairman/ceo broke promises that any extension would be put to a shareholder vote.

Murdoch told the meeting he was continuing to have "friendly discussions" over ways to unwind Malone's stake and, despite the rebellion, all directors were re-elected.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff