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Majority of News Corp's non-family shareholders voted against Murdoch's sons

By Giulia Cambieri

Shareholders have registered their anger at the Murdoch family's handling of the phone-hacking scandal, with the majority of non-family shareholders at News Corporation voting against the re-election of Rupert Murdoch’s sons to the board.

Figures released by the family-controlled media conglomerate on 24 October show that 35% of News Corp’s shareholders voted against the re-election of James Murdoch, the company’s deputy chief operating officer, and 34% voted against Lachlan Murdoch. Fourteen percent voted against Rupert's re-election.

However, effectively 67% of the company’s investors voted against James and 64% against Lachlan.

The figures show the extent of the protest vote against the Murdochs’ control of company, which has been under scrutiny since the illegal activities of the now defunct British newspaper News of the World were revealed during the summer.

But, it was always unlikely that Murdoch and his sons would be voted off the board because of the company's dual-class share system – despite owning just 12% of News Corp's shares, the family controls about 40% of voting rights.

News Corp’s second biggest shareholder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who controls about 7% of the company’s voting shares, had also backed the family.

Rupert Murdoch established News Corporation in 1979 as the holding company for Australian publisher News Limited, founded by Murdoch’s father. The group, which includes TV channels, radio stations and newspapers such as London-based The Times and The Wall Street Journal, is now one of the largest media conglomerates in the world.

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