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News Corp. Sets Shareholder Vote on Company Split for June 11

Rupert Murdoch

The conglomerate has said the separation of its entertainment operations from its publishing business would happen by mid-year.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. on Tuesday said that its special meeting that will see shareholders vote on its proposed split into two companies will take place in New York on June 11.

After the split, News Corp. shareholders will own stock in two publicly traded companies. One will own its newspaper and book publishing assets and retain the News Corp. name. The other will be the entertainment company that will be rebranded as 21st Century Fox.

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Murdoch will be chairman of both companies and CEO of the entertainment company. Robert Thomson, former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, will become CEO of the publishing firm. The Murdoch family will continue to control both entities.

News Corp.'s board has already unanimously approved the company split, with shareholders getting their say in June.

The company's filing said that it is still waiting to hear back from the FCC if international shareholders will be allowed to vote on all split proposals given that the separation will transfer News Corp.'s U.S. TV station licenses to 21st Century Fox and station licensees are not allowed to have foreign ownership of more than 25 percent. The company previously suspended some international shareholder voting rights when their stake exceeded that mark.

If there is no decision or the FCC restricts non-U.S. shareholders from voting, the company said it would suspend voting rights to be in compliance.

News Corp. in a regulatory filing also said that 21st Century Fox accounted for $25.1 billion of the conglomerate's total revenue of $33.7 billion for its fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, up from $24.2 billion in the previous year. Its earnings of $3 billion were up from $2.3 billion.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai