Fox Nominates CEO of Activist Fund to Board

Rupert Murdoch - P - 2014
Associated Press

Jeffrey Ubben, who recently bought a stake in UTA and is the head of ValueAct, which owns 5.9 percent of Fox's voting stock, will join the board, agreeing not to launch any hostile action during his term.

21st Century Fox, led by chairman Rupert Murdoch, CEO James Murdoch and executive co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch, said on Tuesday that it has nominated to its board Jeffrey Ubben, the CEO of activist fund ValueAct Capital Management, which owns a big stake in the entertainment conglomerate.

The board nomination is part of a broader deal that sees the fund agreeing not to launch a fight over board members or other hostile action against Fox for the period of the board term.

But unlike other activists, who are aggressively pushing for changes at companies in which they hold stakes, ValueAct hasn’t publicly outlined any agenda or hopes for Fox. The hedge fund has acquired stock since 2014 and has reportedly been closely interacting with Fox leaders. Fox said it invited Ubben to join the board. ValueAct owns 5.9 percent of Fox’s Class B voting stock, according to latest regulatory filings.

Ubben, who recently also took a stake in UTA, is expected to be confirmed as a board member at the company's annual shareholders’ meeting later this year. His addition would expand the Fox board from 12 to 13 members.

Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said: "Jeff will bring to our board a great perspective as a global investor and a shared belief in building long-term value for shareholders. Our board and senior management team have developed a highly-valued relationship with Jeff, and we are pleased he has accepted the board’s invitation to stand for election."

Said Ubben: "I have been extremely impressed with 21st Century Fox’s senior leadership team and directors and their collective vision for the company’s continued growth in a dynamic industry. The rapidly changing media landscape presents significant opportunities, and I believe 21st Century Fox is uniquely positioned to leverage its global presence and market leadership to create further long-term value for all stockholders. If elected by shareholders, it would be a privilege to serve on the board of such a well-respected and admired global media organization."