News Corp. board to hold annual elections


News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and other board members of the media giant will in the future have to stand for re-election every year rather than every few years.

The company said late Tuesday that its board has voted in favor of the proposed change and also has eliminated an anti-takeover provision, or "poison pill," that it had put in place in late 2004 when Liberty Media acquired a sizable voting stake in the entertainment conglomerate.

Investors have long been looking for the scrapping of the provision, which has been expected ever since Liberty and News Corp. completed a stock-for-assets and cash swap in late February. As part of that deal, Liberty, among other things, won control of satellite TV giant DirecTV Group.

News Corp.'s board on Tuesday terminated the pill, known as a stockholder-rights plan in Wall Street lingo.

The board also approved the elimination of the company's classified, or staggered, board structure -- a move that will win praise from corporate governance activists that have long pushed for such a change. Under the current system, only some of the directors stand for re-election in any given year.

Stockholders must approve the change at News Corp.'s annual meeting. Upon approval, all of the company's directors will stand for re-election for a one-year term.