Rupert Murdoch easily retains position as Fox chairman
Rupert Murdoch easily swatted away another attempt to loosen his control over 21st Century Fox.
Fox shareholders on Friday overwhelmingly supported the 82-year-old mogul’s bid to retain his seat on the Fox board. Murdoch had the fifth-highest vote total in the company’s annual election, with 463 million votes supporting his return, while 46 million votes were cast against him.
Three newly elected members of Fox’s board captured higher vote totals than Murdoch, as did his chief lieutenant.
Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey collected 471 million votes in support of his return to the board, with 39 million votes against him.
Fox disclosed its election results in a filing late Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Murdoch’s two sons were less popular with shareholders. James Murdoch, 40, who is deputy chief operating officer of the media company, attracted 411 million votes in favor of his return to the board, but nearly 100 million votes were cast against him.
Murdoch’s oldest son, Lachlan, 42, received the lowest vote total. More than 384 million votes favored his return to the board, while nearly 126 million votes were cast against him.
The closely watched referendum to install an independent chairman was defeated. Shareholder activists and proxy advisory firms had campaigned in support of the measure.
The independent chairman referendum generated nearly 147 million votes in support. But nearly 362 million votes were cast in opposition to the measure.
Murdoch and his family control 39% of Fox’s voting shares.
Friday’s annual meeting was the first gathering of investors of the renamed 21st Century Fox. In late June, Murdoch spun off the company’s publishing assets, including the Wall Street Journal and New York Post, into a new company that carries the old News Corp. name.
The Fox assets include the Fox broadcast network, cable channels FX and regional sports networks, the 20th Century Fox movie studio and interests in television operations in Europe and Asia.
“2013 has been a transformative year and I couldn’t be prouder of what we have accomplished,” Murdoch told shareholders at the start of Friday’s meeting on the Fox lot in West Los Angeles.
Fox’s stock jumped nearly 50% in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Murdoch noted that Fox’s shareholder returns outpaced stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average -- as well as those of Fox’s media competitors.
“These numbers speak for themselves,” Murdoch said.
Follow Meg James on Twitter: @MegJamesLAT
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