June 11, 2013

NWS Shareholders Vote Today

From Businessweek — After years of being criticized by investors for his love of newspapers, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch takes a step closer to cleaving off the declining publishing business today.

Shareholders are scheduled to vote to approve the breakup plan at a special meeting this morning in New York, where the company is based. The publishing group will inherit the News Corp. name, while the entertainment unit will be called 21st Century Fox after the June 28 split. Murdoch holds the plurality of votes through his family's trust, with 39 percent of Class B voting shares, making passage likely.

Murdoch's sustained commitment to newspapers, a deteriorating industry, led investors to push for a split so that the market would recognize the value of entertainment assets such as the Fox News and FX cable networks. 21st Century Fox also includes Fox broadcasting and a film division, 20th Century Fox — which will keep its name despite the parent company's updated moniker.

"We think generally the split can be good for investors, but we'll have to see how both stocks are priced," Donald Yacktman, founder of Yacktman Asset Management Co., said in an interview. Yacktman is the fourth-largest holder of News Corp.'s Class A shares, with 5 percent.