Rupert Murdoch's control of Fox targeted by investor
Rupert Murdoch's control over media conglomerate 21st Century Fox faces a renewed challenge from a shareholder who cites scandals at the mogul's companies.

Fox recommends shareholders oppose the proposal by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which held 947 voting shares, to eliminate the dual-class stock structure that gives Mr Murdoch control, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.

Investors will decide on the non-binding measure at the annual meeting scheduled for November 15 in Los Angeles.

Despite owning 17 per cent of the outstanding shares, executive chairman Mr Murdoch controls almost 40 per cent of the voting power, according to the filing and a statement by the foundation.

The group has unsuccessfully pursued a similar change at another Murdoch company, News Corp, for several years and proposed such a change at Fox in 2013.

"There are a number of reasons, including all of the various high-profile scandals that the company has faced," said Laura Campos, director of corporate and political accountability at the New York-based foundation.
James Murdoch facing upset shareholders too -
James Murdoch is poised to defend his position as Sky's chairman at its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.

A trio of advisory firms have called on shareholders to rebel against Mr Murdoch, who is chief executive of 21st Century Fox and sits on its board.

One investor, Royal London, which owns £44m in Sky shares, has criticised the dual position as "inappropriate", amid Fox's attempted bid to take over Sky.

Royal London, which has a 0.28% stake in Sky, resurfaced its concerns over the Fox-Sky deal ahead of the vote - saying the board's chairman should have no affiliation to either company.

"Minority shareholders at Sky would be better served by a truly independent chairman," said Ashley Hamilton Claxton, the firm's corporate governance manager.

"Independent oversight of the board is particularly important given Fox's ongoing bid to acquire Sky."
More than 28% of shareholders voted against Mr Murdoch's comeback as chairman last year, four years after he stood down from the position in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.

Fox's bid to buy the 61% stake in Sky which it does not already own is now the subject of a Competition and Markets Authority investigation.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom earlier said the deal risked giving the Murdoch family "increased influence" over the UK's news agenda and political process.

Sky is also set to update the market with results for the three months to 30 September on Thursday.
The shockwaves would have been felt around the world over the weekend when billionaire investor Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was among a clutch of Saudi princes and ministers arrested in the kingdom.

And the real impact of the arrests could hit a very well-known former Aussie next week.

Prince al-Waleed has stakes in many prominent global companies, but none are more important than his crucial stash of voting stock at Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

Prince al-Waleed's voting stake has made the Murdoch family's position at both News Corp, and its more lucrative spin-off, 21st Century Fox, impregnable.

The Murdoch family's control of the company is not quite assured with its 38 per cent stash of voting stock, which dwarfs its economic interest of only 14 per cent.

But add in the prince's stake and the family could weather severe storms such as the British phone hacking scandal without having to make too many concessions to other investors.

...Now it just happens that 21st Century Fox is holding its annual shareholder meeting next Thursday, and one of the items on the agenda is a vote to unwind the dual class share structure.

As of December 31, 2015, Prince al-Waleed's group owned 5 per cent of 21st Century Fox.

If the prince no longer controls this stake, or has not voted on it yet, the voting result could be cataclysmic for Rupert.
A key ally of Rupert Murdoch has sold his stake in 21st Century Fox, leaving the company more vulnerable to a rebellion by shareholders unhappy at the dominance of the Murdoch family.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who controls the investment firm Kingdom Holding and is one of the world’s richest men, at one stage owned more than 6% of Fox and has consistently backed the Murdochs in shareholder votes about the family’s control of the company.

He has been a shareholder in Murdoch companies – including Fox and News Corp, the owner of the Sun, Times and Wall Street Journal – for two decades and expressed public support for the family after the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World in 2011.
Regulatory filings in New York show Prince Alwaleed reduced his stake to 4.98% in December 2015, and an analysis of Bloomberg data shows the stake has fallen to zero since the end of the last financial quarter, on 30 September.
Fox is facing a rebellion at its annual meeting next Thursday from shareholders who are unhappy with the company’s performance and how it handled a sexual harassment scandal at Fox News.

Prince Alwaleed was among 11 princes arrested – along with four ministers and dozens of former ministers – over the weekend by the Saudi government in what was described as an anti-corruption crackdown.
Team Sky to become Team Disney? :lol:
The executive chairman of 21st Century Fox has said the firm is big enough to compete in a shifting media landscape.

Executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch made the remarks after reports that the Murdoch family had talked about selling parts of the business to Disney.
CNBC reported this week that Disney had approached Fox about a possible deal for its entertainment business, including Sky.

The goal would be to create a company that can compete as newer firms such as Netflix and Amazon become bigger content creators. Those talks are no longer ongoing, CNBC said.
Original article at
“Sky for Disney is a wonderful fit and helps them meet their stated target of going straight to the consumer,” Brian Wieser, analyst at Pivotal Research said in an interview, adding that the satellite company is already trying to be a Netflix in Europe. “If Fox is for sale then everyone would look at them.”
...a shareholder proposal calling for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc – also controlled by the Murdoch family – to scrap its dual-class share structure was rejected on Wednesday.

Fifty-seven per cent of votes cast sided with the position of Fox’s board, which argued that the current share structure provided flexibility and enhanced the company’s ability to focus on long-term results, a Fox regulatory filing said.

The majority of Fox shares traded publicly are class A shares, which have no voting rights. The Murdoch family owns about 39% of the class B voting shares.

At the 26-minute annual meeting on Fox’s movie and television studio lot in Los Angeles, shareholders also re-elected Murdoch and his two sons to the company’s board, suggesting continued support for the family even as its Fox News division is recovering from a series of costly sexual harassment settlements.
see also
The Murdochs seem to be looking for cash, or re-organizing/ selling off badly performing assets.
Comcast has approached 21st Century Fox and expressed interest in an acquisition of some of Fox's assets, sources said Thursday.

Talks are ongoing, a source said.

Comcast is interested in the same set of assets that Disney approached Fox about earlier this year, sources said. Also of interest to Comcast is acquiring the international assets of Fox, given that the Philadelphia-based company is heavily concentrated in the U.S.

CNBC reported last week, citing sources, that 21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Disney, leaving only an entity focused on news and sports.

A Comcast-Fox deal would have the same regulatory issues that Disney would have in acquiring the Fox assets, the sources said.

Disney under U.S. rules could not own two broadcast networks. And that would be the same case with Comcast. Neither company is talking about purchasing all of Fox, sources told CNBC.

Any deal by Comcast or Disney would also likely exclude Fox's news and sports programming assets for fear of running foul of antitrust laws.

Fox shares jumped more than 6 percent in after-hours trading. Comcast shares rose about 0.75 percent, while Disney shares were mildly lower.

CNBC reported Friday that while the Disney and Fox talks were not ongoing, a deal was not totally dead.

Verizon Communications is also interested in acquiring parts of Fox, Dow Jones reported after the bell Thursday.
Team Micky Mouse could still be on -
The Walt Disney Company has resumed talks with 21st Century Fox about buying at least part of the company, as Fox weighs whether to shrink its empire, two people briefed on the matter said on Saturday.

Fox is still in talks with Comcast about a potential deal, added these people, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations. The Murdochs, who control Fox, are expected to make a decision about whether to pursue a sale by the end of the year, one person added.

The return of Disney, which held talks with Fox earlier this year, highlights how media companies are increasingly seeking to compete in a new era of streaming by getting bigger and acquiring more content. It also leaves medium-sized players like Fox to decide whether they can buy the scale they need — or sell and focus on particular business niches.

If Fox decides to pursue sales negotiations, it would represent a potential unwinding of a media kingdom that the Murdoch family has assembled for decades. Disney and Comcast have been most interested in only part of the constellation of Fox businesses, notably the 20th Century Fox movie studio; cable channels like FX; Sky, the British broadcaster; Star, an Indian broadcaster.

Fox would be left with several highly profitable businesses, including Fox News, its broadcast network and its sports pay-TV channel.
Disney and 21st Century Fox’s on-again, off-again talks, which fizzled somewhat at the end of last month, appear to be back on, with the two sides zeroing in on a deal that could close as soon as next week. The deal, which could alleviate pain points for both companies as the media industry rapidly consolidates, would potentially see James Murdoch succeed Disney C.E.O. Bob Iger, who is expected to step down in 2019, the Financial Times reports. As the deal stands, Disney would acquire Fox’s entertainment assets, including Star TV networks, its movie studios, stakes in Hulu and Sky, and its regional sports operation. Fox would retain its sports and news assets, including Fox News—the agreement would reportedly be valued at more than $60 billion.
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger's contract is likely to be extended should the company move forward with a $40-$60+ billion deal to acquire 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sources tell CNBC that a deal could come as soon next week.

Why it matters: Iger's last contract negotiation had him slated to exit in July, 2019, leading to speculation that he might run for president.
The Murdochs are having a garage sale -
Sources previously told CNBC that Disney was close to a deal to purchase parts of Twenty-First Century Fox, including network Nat Geo, Asian pay TV operator Star TV, movie studios, stakes in Sky and Hulu, and regional sports networks. It would not include news and business news divisions, its broadcast network and Fox Sports. The deal, could be worth more than $60 billion including the assumption of debt, could be announced early next week.

Comcast has also thrown its hat in the ring. The company is most interested in British pay-TV operator Sky because of its technology capabilities. Comcast wants to diversify its business outside the United States, which this deal would allow.
Walt Disney Co.’s planned acquisition of much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox media company — a deal that is expected to be completed as early as this week — could prompt a brain drain of high-level Fox executives in the coming months.
Disney and Fox appear to be putting the finishing touches on their proposed merger, according to two knowledgeable insiders who were not authorized to discuss the situation. Philadelphia cable company Comcast Corp. said Monday that it was no longer pursuing a deal with Murdoch.
Team Mickey Mouse coming soon! :D
Walt Disney is close to confirming a deal to buy 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets for about $60bn, reports say.

The sale would include the 20th Century Fox film studio and the Sky and Star satellite broadcasters in the UK, Europe and Asia.

Disney was left as the front runner after Comcast, the NBC owner, dropped out of the race on Monday.

The Financial Times said talks about the price were continuing on Tuesday.

CNBC reported that Fox and Disney were on a "glide path" for an announcement on Thursday, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

The Murdoch family was said to favour a deal with Disney because it would rather be paid in the entertainment giant's shares than Comcast stock.

A deal with Disney could also face fewer US regulatory hurdles, although it is extremely unlikely to be waved through.
Did Rupert land on his head when he fell on his son's yacht?
The founder of Fox News blasted Facebook for having "popularized scurrilous news sources" without a hint of irony. Rupert Murdoch — Fox News' current chairman and acting CEO — has criticized Facebook for, of all things, helping promote "scurrilous news sources."
If you were around in the UK in the heyday of the Sun and News of the World, you'll get the irony. :)