Australian Pension Fund to Sell News Corp. Stake

It cites the failure to get chairman Rupert Murdoch off the conglomerate's board and add more independent directors.

LONDON - An Australian pension fund that is a shareholder in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has decided to sell its stake in the entertainment company over the coming months.

Reuters reported that the sale comes after a failure late last year to get chairman Murdoch off the Hollywood conglomerate's board and add more independent directors to strengthen its governance.

The fund, First Super, owns about $7.4 million in News Corp. stock.

At the company's annual shareholder meeting in October, Murdoch easily survived a second attempt to oust him as chairman, even though some critics once again argued that his family has too much control over the conglomerate.

The lack of a more independent board means "unacceptable" risks for investors, First Super argued, according to Reuters. "These issues are apparently of no concern to Rupert Murdoch, so our board decided to take his advice and sell down our shareholding," the fund's co-chair, Michael O'Connor, said.

Murdoch had in the past said that investors unhappy with News Corp.'s governance and board composition could simply sell their stakes.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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