A major outside shareholder in News Corp
and Fox Corp.
opposes a plan by Rupert Murdoch to recombine the companies and wants other alternatives considered, including a breakup of News Corp.
Independent Franchise Partners, a London-based investment firm and one of the largest non-Murdoch holders of both News Corp and Fox, said it told a special committee of News Corp’s board last month that it thinks a combination on its own would fail to realize the full value of the company. It believes any combination should be done in conjunction with the sale of some of News Corp’s most valuable business units.
Murdoch’s family trust controls roughly 40% of the voting rights of both companies. Both have dual-class structures, with the family trust mainly holding class B shares, which have more powerful voting rights.
News Corp, in addition to owning the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and HarperCollins Publishers, is a major player in online real-estate listings through Realtor.com and other properties. It also owns Australian cable-television network Foxtel.
News Corp is the parent company of MarketWatch and Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones.
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.
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