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James Murdoch sells 21st Century Fox shares

The son of Rupert Murdoch and second-gen deputy chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox, James Murdoch, has sold around a fifth of his shares in the entertainment company in a transaction valued at around $15 million.
James Murdoch, former heir apparent to the News Corp empire
©NRKBeta

The son of Rupert Murdoch and second-gen deputy chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox, James Murdoch, has sold around a fifth of his shares in the entertainment company in a transaction valued at around $15 million (€10.9 million).

It comes just two weeks after the company posted its first quarterly results as a standalone company, following its separation from News Corp.

While revenues rose from $6 billion to $7.1 billion, quarterly net income fell 44% to $1.26 billion. This was attributed to the cost of launching new sports and entertainment channels and a poor performance from its films. Profits rose for its broadcast television operations.

According to the Wall St Journal, Murdoch sold 455,000 Class A shares with an average price of $32.97, but still owns nearly 2 million.

Murdoch was re-elected to the 21st Century Fox board – alongside his father, and brother, Lachlan – in October, at the first meeting of shareholders since it separated from News Corp.

This was despite a recommendation by proxy advisory firm International Shareholder Services (ISS) that James and his brother be removed from the board, and their father removed as chair.

ISS said all former members of the News Corp board should be replaced, due to their decision in May – before the company split into its publishing and entertainment arms – to implement a poison pill without a shareholder vote.

James was heavily criticised by a UK parliamentary report for his lack of oversight in the News of the World phone hacking scandal, which saw the closure of the 168-year-old title while he was deputy chief operating officer at its parent company, News Corp.

Before the scandal, James had been touted as the most likely successor to his father as chair of the family empire, but now his brother, Lachlan, or News Corp’s non-family chief executive, Robert Thomson, are seen as most likely to take the helm.

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