International Business

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Murdoch Bonus Stock Plan Draws Criticism: The Australian government has threatened to block an ambitious bid by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to issue super-voting shares for alliances with telecommunications firms unless it has more time to evaluate the issue. The 1-to-10 bonus issue would force the Australian Stock Exchange to abandon its long-held principle of one share, one vote, by providing shareholders with differential voting rights. Many investment groups have criticized the scheme as an underhanded way to entrench Murdoch's control of News Corp. while setting a dangerous precedent for the local exchange and diminishing the rights of ordinary shareholders. The issue is part of Murdoch's effort to forge alliances with other media companies, particularly U.S.-based telecommunications firms.

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