Rupert Murdoch's Annual Fox Pay Rises to $34.6M

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Rupert Murdoch with sons James and Lachlan

The mogul's compensation tops that of sons James and Lachlan, with accounted pension values being a growth driver.

Rupert Murdoch's annual compensation for his role as executive chairman at 21st Century Fox amounted to $34.6 million in the most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30. That was up 24 percent from $27.9 million in the previous year when he had also served as CEO.

A regulatory filing on Friday showed that the change was driven mostly by the way the company accounted for the value of his pension. The pension figure is not based on actual money, but an estimate based on Securities and Exchange Commission rules.

The values reported "are theoretical as these amounts are calculated pursuant to SEC requirements and are based on a retirement assumption of age 55 or current age, if later, and other assumptions," the company said in its filing. "The change in pension value in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, was primarily due to a reduction in prevailing interest rates in the credit markets. ... However, the increase in pension value resulting from the change in the discount rate does not result in any increase in the benefits payable to participants under the plan."

Rupert Murdoch's salary was unchanged at $7.1 million, his stock awards rose from $5.1 million to $6.4 million and his non-equity incentive plan payout was unchanged at $9.765 million. Fox put the "change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings" at $11.1 million, up from $5.7 million in the previous year. His other compensation amounted to $178,394, including $106,240 for the personal use of company aircraft.

The entertainment conglomerate's SEC filing showed that James Murdoch's annual compensation for his first fiscal year as CEO amounted to $26.4 million, up 75 percent from $15.1 million in the previous fiscal year when he served as co-COO.

His salary of $3 million was unchanged, his stock awards rose from $5.4 million to $10.1 million, his non-equity incentive plan compensation went from $5.6 million to $7.4 million, and change in pension value rose from $916,000 to $5.6 million. His other compensation amounted to $178,716, including $104,500 for the personal use of company aircraft.

Lachlan Murdoch's compensation for his first year in the role as executive chairman amounted to $23.7 million. His year-ago pay when he served as non-executive co-chairman had not been disclosed, because he wasn't an executive officer back then. His annual salary came to $3 million, his stock awards to $10.1 million, his non-equity incentive plan compensation to $7.4 million, and his change in pension value to $3.0 million. His other compensation amounted to $114,321, including $64,671 for the personal use of company aircraft.

Chase Carey's pay for his role as executive vice chairman and consultant to Rupert Murdoch amounted to $29.2 million, up 26 percent from $23.2 million in the previous fiscal year when he was still president and COO. The increase was driven by stock awards of $11.3 million, up from $9.0 million in the previous year, and a nearly $3.8 million increase in pension value. Carey had been Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man since 2009.

Like proxy statements on executive pay do, Fox's listed the compensation for the company's five top executives. CFO John Nallen made $12.1 million, up from $8.2 million in the previous year.

Fox's stock declined 16.0 percent during the latest fiscal year.

The company's proxy filing confirmed that the Murdoch family trust continues to control 38.4 percent of the voting stock in the conglomerate, with Rupert Murdoch listed as holding 38.9 percent, including the trust holdings.

The filing also lists a 6.3 percent stake held by Jeffrey Ubben and a vehicle of activist investment fund ValueAct Capital Management, which Ubben runs as CEO. Fox in September 2015 nominated Ubben to its board as part of a deal that saw ValueAct agree not to start any hostile action against the company during his board term. At the time, ValueAct owned around a 5.9 percent stake in Fox.

The Fox filing did not list Saudi Prince Alwaleed on the list of people or companies owning a stake of at least 5 percent. In last year’s proxy, his stake had been 6.6 percent. A February filing showed that Alwaleed had reduced his stake to 4.98 percent.

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