The Murdoch family appears to be regaining the trust of News Corporation’s shareholders, after it survived all motions opposing its control of the media empire at the company’s annual general meeting.
Shareholders re-elected Rupert Murdoch, his two sons – James and Lachlan – as well as all other board directors.
Only 5% of investors voted against Murdoch’s re-election as chairman, compared to about 14% one year ago, when the company was under scrutiny over the illegal activities of the now defunct British newspaper News of the World.
At the meeting, which was held in Los Angeles on 16 October, James and Lachlan respectively received 17% and 21% votes against their re-election, compared to about 35% each last year.
US-based proxy firm Glass Lewis recently urged its clients to vote against six of News Corp’s directors, including family members James and Lachlan. However, another proxy firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, recommended its clients to re-elect the whole of News Corp’s 14-strong board.
The majority of the family business’s shareholders also vetoed a proposal to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive, both currently held by 81-year-old Murdoch.
Murdoch said during the meeting that his family’s interests "are the same as all shareholders”.
A resolution to change News Corp's dual-class share system, which gives the Murdochs control over 40% of the company’s voting rights despite owning only 12% of its shares, was also rejected. Almost 90% voted against the change.
This was expected as the group’s second biggest shareholder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who controls 7% of the voting rights, had previously voiced his support for the Murdoch family.