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Shareholders Oppose News Corp-Fox Merger

 |  November 23, 2022

A major investor in News and Fox Independent Franchise Partners, said on Wednesday it opposes Rupert Murdoch’s plan to recombine the companies, raising a potential obstacle to the mogul’s desire to reunite the media empire he separated nearly a decade ago.

The London-based investment firm 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.

Independent, which owns about 7% of News Corp’s Class A shares and 6.4% in Fox Corp, is the second investor to express dissent over the plan. The firm declined Reuters’ request for comment.

Related: News Corp Investors Raise Concerns About Proposed Merger With Fox

News Corp investor Irenic Capital earlier this week suggested a spin-off of the media company’s digital real estate business or Dow Jones as an alternative to the merger.

In October, Murdoch proposed to reunite the media companies he split in 2013, placing his publishing business in newly created public entity News Corp and the TV and entertainment businesses under 21st Century Fox.

Murdoch sold many of Fox’s entertainment assets in 2019 to the Walt Disney Co in a $71.3 billion deal that left a smaller business focused on live news and sports.

Fox Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch said during a 2019 investor day that he saw no logic in recombining News Corporation and Fox, arguing at the time that the split had benefits.

But Rupert Murdoch proposed just that in October, with sources saying the merger would provide greater scale to compete with media rivals.

Several people close to the Murdochs, however, viewed the effort to reunite the media companies as driven by the 91-year-old Murdoch’s succession planning to consolidate power behind his son Lachlan Murdoch, a notion the company described as “absurd” earlier this month.