ADELAIDE: Rupert Murdoch won shareholder approval yesterday to move the corporate headquarters of his US$48bil News Corp Ltd media empire to the United States and sever its Australian roots.
Murdoch, who has US citizenship and has lived there since the 1970s, also said the company was sticking with its earnings forecasts, helping to spur a 4% rally in News Corp shares.
Investors voted more than 90% in favour of Murdoch’s plan to reincorporate News Corp in the United States, where it generates more than 75% of its earnings. The vote followed months of wrangling over the deal, which will see Australia’s biggest company leave the benchmark stock exchange index.
News Corp maintained its forecasts for operating income growth in the mid to high teen range in 2004/05, with its Sky Italia pay TV business expected to reach profitability in the first half next year and strong earnings improvement forecast for its pan-Asian Star network.
Murdoch, 73, had argued that shifting News Corp’s primary share listing to the New York Stock Exchange would attract more institutional investors and boost access to US capital markets.
But he was forced to bow to stiff investor opposition and make amendments to News Corp’s constitution to get the move over the line, maintaining some rights of shareholders in Australia that would have been eroded by a Delaware listing. – Reuters
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