Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch's Annual Fox Pay Soars on Disney Deal

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Lachlan, Rupert and James Murdoch

The entertainment conglomerate, which has agreed to sell large parts to Walt Disney for $71.3 billion, shows increased stock awards for the Murdochs for the fiscal year ended in June.

James, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch's annual compensation for their executive roles at 21st Century Fox soared in the most recent fiscal year due to one-time stock awards related to the deal to sell large parts of the company to the Walt Disney Co., according to a regulatory filing.

Rupert Murdoch made $49.2 million in the latest fiscal year, which ended in June, as executive co-chairman, compared with $29.3 million in the previous year, up 68 percent, the Friday filing showed. Excluding special awards tied to the Disney deal, he would have made $32.1 million. His salary remained unchanged at $7.1 million, but his stock awards rose from $5.4 million to $23.3 million. His $125,601 in "other compensation" included personal use of corporate aircraft worth $42,304 and corporate car/car allowance benefits worth $25,468, among other things.

Lachlan Murdoch's compensation as executive co-chairman amounted to $50.7 million, compared with $20.6 million in the previous year, up 146 percent. Excluding special awards, he would have made $23.7 million, up 15 percent. His salary remained unchanged at $3.0 million, but his stock awards rose from $8.5 million to $36.7 million. His "other compensation" amounted to $219,996, led by $192,461 in personal use of corporate aircraft.

Fox CEO James Murdoch's compensation for the fiscal year amounted to $50.3 million, compared with $20.3 million for the previous year, up 148 percent. Excluding special awards, he would have made $23.3 million, up 15 percent. His salary remained unchanged at $3.0 million, while his stock awards rose from $8.5 million to $36.7 million. His "other compensation" amounted to $542,126, led by $477,990 in personal use of corporate aircraft.

In connection with the Disney transaction, Fox's compensation committee in February "determined that, subject to satisfaction of one of the performance metrics, the outstanding performance share unit awards for the fiscal 2016-2018 performance period granted to the company’s named executive officers, will pay out based on the target level of performance," the company said in the filing in explaining the increased value in the stock awards for the Murdochs in the latest fiscal year. The committee also granted retention restricted stock units to executives, it added. "Recipients of the retention RSUs are not eligible to receive a PSU award with respect to the fiscal 2019-2021 performance period," according to the filing.

Concluded Fox in its filing: "These actions were taken in connection with the transaction and are not representative of the company’s annual compensation program."

Fox vice chairman Chase Carey made $20 million in the most recent fiscal year "pursuant to a consulting agreement with the company, which expired in accordance with its terms on June 30, 2018," according to the filing.

Fox late last year had agreed to sell large parts of its business to Walt Disney. Comcast then made a competing offer, but Disney sealed the deal after sweetening its bid to $71.3 billion. Fox on Wednesday said it would sell its 39 percent stake in Sky to Comcast, which had won a weekend auction for the European pay TV giant against Fox.

Fox's stock has been boosted by the planned sale. Over the last fiscal year, the Disney deal created more than $40 billion of shareholder value, according to the company.

The company's regulatory filing on Friday also mentioned that at its annual shareholder meeting in L.A. on Nov. 14, it would vote on a shareholder proposal to eliminate Fox's "dual-class capital structure and provide that each outstanding share of common stock has one vote." The company said in a response: "The board has carefully reviewed the capital structure of the company and has concluded that the current dual-class capital structure continues to be appropriate and is in the best interest of the company and its stockholders. The board therefore recommends that stockholders vote against this proposal."