MediaFile

Rupert Murdoch sells A shares, but still in control

Rupert Murdoch (Photo: Reuters)

News Corp  Chief Executive and Chairman Rupert Murdoch sold off the bulk of his common shareholding according to a regulatory filing but, have no fear the 80 year-old mogul is still very much in charge both in terms of management and financial control.

According to the filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, from Nov 16 to Nov 17 Murdoch sold a total of 3.6 million News Corp A shares for between $16.76 and and $17.07 each for a total value of some $62 million. This means Murdoch”s A shares holding went down to just 381,000 from around 4 million. The elder Murdoch had made the disposals for “financial planning” reasons, according to a source. Back in February Murdoch had bought 2.8 million A shares for between $17.19 to $17.53.

News Corp shares got battered through the summer dropping as much as 25 percent as the parent of Fox, Wall Street Journal and Twentieth Century Fox reeled from an escalating phone hacking scandal at its UK newspaper arm. Murdoch did undertake some relatively minor buying and selling of A shares over the summer.

Despite the sell-off Murdoch remains fully in control of News Corp through his family’s 40 percent stake in the B shares which have voting rights and control the company (A shares do not have voting rights).

Murdoch backs progressive U.S. immigration policy

News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch on Thursday said the United States should work harder at making itself a more attractive country for people to emigrate to, as an important route back to enabling economic growth.
Murdoch, 80, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, became a naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1985.

“We have in our DNA the most entrepreneurship,” said Murdoch speaking at a conference on immigration sponsored by the Partnership for New York City and Partnership for a New American Economy. “It’s no accident that people over all over Europe want to come here…and from China. This is a great country.”

Other speakers like New York City Mayor Bloomberg, former Toronto mayor David Miller and New York Times writer Thomas Friedman all supported reforming the immigration system.

Sony’s Sir Howard Stringer makes fun of News Corp hacking scandal

On the same day that James Murdoch was fighting for his career at a parliamentary hearing on Thursday in London, Sony’s CEO Sir Howard Stringer was making fun of the whole situation an ocean away.

At a fancy breakfast hosted by News Corp’s Wall Street Journal in New York (where Sirius XM’s CEO Mel Karmazin was in the house), Stringer was the guest of honor.  WSJ editor Robert Thomson kicked off the Q&A session introducing Stringer, who later took the opportunity to show off one of Sony’s new products, a pair of binoculars that can be used to record video or pictures in 3D. That’s when Stringer seized the moment to turn the breakfast into an impromptu roast about News Corp’s woes.  Wielding the binoculars, he said:

“These are 3D binoculars. I venture it got good reviews. The Wall Street Journal will equip all their reporters with this. And if you think hacking the Royal Family is fun with phones, this is the ideal device. If you stay at the Hotel InterContinental Hyde Park, you can actually gaze into Buckingham Palace with these. I am telling this to (Thomson), wherever you are. Did you leave already? This is for you. This is for you. Video recording or stills.”

News International loses top PR exec

News Corp exec James Murdoch

If we were at Rupert Murdoch’s daily UK tabloid The Sun we’d probably have a headline today that reads: Will the last person to leave News International please  turn off the lights?

Oh wait, The Sun already did that — but with Britain as its subject.

But we can’t help ourselves as News International executives drop like flies following the terrible phone voicemail hacking scandal which has rocked its parent company News Corp right to its core. Nearly 20 executives or journalists have either resigned, been fired or arrested since the hacking scandal escalated.

The Guardian today broke news that Alice Macandrew, the much liked, much respected senior communications executive at News International handed in her notice after falling out with News International top brass including James Murdoch about the handling of the communications strategy once the proverbial good stuff started to hit the fan this summer. We’ve since confirmed the news from our sources.

Live Coverage: News Corp phone hack scandal

This liveblog has expired, updates past 10am on July 20th, 2011 can be found here.

Reuters.com is liveblogging House of Commons debate

Factbox on today’s committee hearings: uk.reuters.com

Timeline of events in the hacking scandal so far: uk.reuters.com
Who’s who in the hacking scandal: uk.reuters.com

Hearing highlights: uk.reuters.com
Analysts views: uk.reuters.com

July 20, 2011

Latest (10am ET)

Liveblogging the House of Commons debate : Reuters

Special report - Murdoch affair spotlights UK’s dirty detectives : Reuters

Dow Jones Hinton’s resignation letters

Memo to employees

Dear all,

Many of you will be aware by now that I resigned today from Dow Jones and News Corp. I attach below my resignation letter to Rupert Murdoch.

It is a deeply, deeply sad day for me.

I want you all to know the pride and pleasure I have taken working at Dow Jones for the past three-and-a-half years. I have never been with better, more dedicated people, or had more fun in a job.

News Corp under Rupert’s brilliant leadership has proved a fitting parent of Dow Jones, allowing us to invest and expand as other media companies slashed costs.  This support enabled us together to strengthen the company during a brutal economic downturn, developing fine new products – not to mention one of the world’s great newspapers led by one of the world’s great editors, my dear friend and colleague Robert Thomson.

News Corp beefs up lobbying team on Capitol Hill – wrong country?

RupertMurdoch DCNews Corp announced on Monday it is expanding its  Capitol Hill government affairs office by promoting veterans Bill Guidera and David Fares to senior vice president and adding two more execs in Kathy Ramsey and Kristopher Jones to the Washington team.

We’ve been assured by insiders there’s nothing afoot here but that it’s a recognition of Guidera and Fares’ work. Clearly, we’ll soon hear if there’s more to it in the near future.

Interestingly, if there’s one country where News Corp could do with better government relations right now it is not the US.  The company could probably do with some extra hands in the UK where News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch (pictured, left) is dealing with a number of touchy situations in terms of government relations particularly concerning his company’s bid to take full ownership of BSkyB, the British  satellite TV  provider.