Topic: big media
News Corporation apparently are holding or improving their share value despite the huge reputational damage to the Murdoch regime at the top from the UK Leveson Parliamentary Inquiry.
We are wondering if serious investor groups, ironically, agree with the view that Rupert is not a fit and proper person to run an international company, and that the prospect finally of having him removed against all previous experience, will finally release the value in the company massively constrained by nepotistic share structures and appointments.
In short the creative destruction of capitalism at the expense of the Murdoch brand to the benefit of his Corporation? Or to put it another way - Murdoch bad, News Corp good?
We are actively googling for those Stephen Mayne stories of yesteryear say pre 2010 verifying hundreds of millions if not billioins of dollars of value in News Corp lost by Rupert Murdoch's bad commercial judgement - things like purchase of MySpace, forays into China and no doubt a host of other disastrous frolics by the Grand Old Man, all the while maintaining the ascendancy of his children.
Here is a useful list from Stephen Mayne via the website of the public library of Victoria (Australia) with bold added by moi, dated 13 October 2011:
"Seventy per cent of the News Corp shares on issue don’t get a vote. Let’s have democracy in Iraq, but not at News Corp. When I ran for the News Corp board in 2002, Rupert completely censored the platform. So it was the only one of my 40 tilts where shareholders weren’t even told how old I was or that I had a degree. That was free speech for you, Rupert-style. So when Rupert does colossally stuff up, it’s hard to do anything about it because whilst the Murdoch family only own 13 per cent of News Corp, this gerrymander gives them about 40 per cent of the vote and the ability to dominate appointments to the supine board, where power ultimately resides. Rupert really should’ve retired in 2006, when he turned 75. It’s been all downhill since then. One billion lost on MySpace, three billion lost on Dow Jones. And now suddenly News Corp has gone from being the most valuable media company in the world in 2007 to being $20 billion behind Disney. And then, of course, there’s phone hacking. With a compliant board and Rupert entrenched as executive chairman, there simply hasn’t been a mechanism available to impose regime change on a control freak who does have dictatorial tendencies and an unfortunate tendency to hire, promote and support rogues, which is something he has done around the world.
Representing the Australian Shareholders’ Association, I had lunch two weeks ago with Sir Rod Eddington and Peter Barnes, the two Australian-based independent directors of News Corp. Whilst I can’t reveal what they said, my comments can be openly discussed. And I really enjoyed talking truth to their power for two hours at the Kenzan Japanese restaurant just opposite the old Herald Sun building. At one point, I said, quote, ‘Guys, it must be hard holding the most powerful family in the world to account, representing us non-Murdoch shareholders. But are you up for the job of regime change?’. I’m not confident. When a majority of the independent shareholders vote to remove the Murdochs from the News Corp board next Friday, which they will, it will be very interesting to see how the independent directors react."