Rupert Murdoch calls off News Corp-Fox merger after backlash


Rupert Murdoch has called off plans for a merger between News Corporation and Fox Corporation after a backlash from investors.

Mr Murdoch, 91, cancelled the re-combining of the two halves of his media empire that would after first floating the idea last October.

“In withdrawing the proposal, Mr Murdoch indicated that he and Lachlan K. Murdoch have determined that a combination is not optimal for shareholders of News Corp and Fox at this time,” News Corp said on Tuesday night.

The climb down follows public opposition from investors.

T Rowe Price, the second largest shareholder in both companies after Mr Murdoch, told the New York Times in November that it opposed the merger, saying an enlarged News Corp would be undervalued.

Similarly, Irenic Capital Management, which owns a 2pc stake in News Corp, wrote to that company’s board urging directors to reject the Murdochs’ merger plan, saying “it does not serve News Corp’s strategic goals”.

News Corp and Fox were split apart in 2013, with most of Fox’s entertainment assets being sold to Disney for $71bn (£58bn) three years ago.

Mr Murdoch is chairman of both companies. His son Lachlan is chief executive of Fox and co-chairman of News Corp, which owns The Times and The Sun in the UK as well as the Wall Street Journal and other prominent international newspapers.

The billionaire media mogul controls around 39pc of News Corp and 42pc of Fox through his family trust, according to reports, giving him effective control of both businesses.

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