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25 percent News Corp shareholders expected to vote against re-electing Murdochs

October 15, 2011 - London

A quarter of shareholders in News Corporation are expected to vote against media tycoon Rupert, and his sons James and Lachlan Murdoch retaining their positions on the media group's board, during an annual meeting in Los Angeles.

According to the Guardian, a string of advisory bodies and corporate governance campaigners have issued recommendations to vote against up to 13 directors on the 15-strong board.

Hermes Equity Ownership Services, which votes on behalf of the BT pension fund and other investors, became the latest shareholder advisory service to advise its clients not to support all the directors on the News Corp board.

"News Corp has not reacted with sufficient urgency to investor concerns about its board composition and corporate culture," said Jennifer Walmsley, director of Hermes EOS, explaining its decision to withhold support from five directors- Rupert, James and Lachlan, Arthur Siskind and Andrew Knight.

"The time is right for the company to appoint an independent chairman to rebuild trust, help correct the governance discount, and ensure that the interests of all investors are properly represented," she added.

According to industry sources, opposition to the directors could reach 25 percent, given the array of other investor bodies and advisory agencies that have also made recommendations to oppose directors.

"It is possible we could see a significant protest vote of 25 percent or so," the paper quoted a source, as saying.

According to the report, well-known US advisory firms are also recommending voting against the Murdochs.


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