Nearly a decade after Rupert Murdoch moved his company's corporate headquarters to New York from his native Australia, his television and film company is moving to withdraw almost completely from Australia.
21st Century Fox announced late Wednesday that it taking steps to remove its shares from trading on the Australian Securities Exchange.
The move -- which is subject to the approval of Fox Class B common stockholders -- would mean that Fox shares would solely be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market in the U.S.
Currently, Fox shares trade on the two separate exchanges.
“Today’s announcement is part of our ongoing agenda to simplify the operating and capital structure of our company,” Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of 21st Century Fox, said in a statement.
Despite the move, Murdoch and part of his corporate empire will continue to have vast influence, and valuable properties, in Australia.
But last summer Murdoch cleaved his sprawling organization into two publicly traded companies: 21st Century Fox and News Corp.
Nearly all of the Australian properties -- including more than 100 newspapers and some Australian TV networks -- became part of News Corp., the publishing company.
“21st Century Fox has only limited operations in Australia, and we believe that consolidating the trading of our stock in the world’s largest equity market would provide improved liquidity to the company’s stockholders and greater efficiencies for the company,” Murdoch said.
Murdoch started his global empire from a single newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, about 60 years ago. The 82-year-old media baron formed News Corp. in 1979, about a decade after expanding beyond Australia by buying newspapers in Britain. He moved the corporate headquarters to New York from Australia in 2004.
Although Murdoch has not lived in Australia for more than two decades, two of his children live there, as did his mother, who died in December 2012 at the age of 103. His late mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, was one of Australia's most generous philanthropists; she was considered something of a national treasure.
After the proposed delisting, Australian stockholders would have the option of continuing to own Fox stock that trades on Nasdaq, the company said in its statement.
Fox said it plans to call a special meeting of shareholders in March or April to vote on the request. If the proposal is approved, the delisting would occur about a month later.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times