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Murdoch ditches Fox, News Corp merger after investor objections

 

Bloomberg

Rupert Murdoch said he was abandoning plans to explore a merger of Fox Corp. and News Corp., two media companies he controls, after investors pushed back on the deal.
Fox said Tuesday that it had received a letter from Murdoch saying that he and his son Lachlan, the chief executive officer of Fox, had determined a combination was “not optimal” for the shareholders at this time. News Corp. issued a similar release. Special committees of the boards that were examining the merger have been dissolved.
The deal, first announced in October, promised to reunite the parents of Fox News and the Fox broadcast business with the print news organization that includes the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and HarperCollins book publishing. The recombination, coming a decade after the companies split up, was a controversial one.
A number of News Corp. investors publicly opposed the merger with Fox, saying it undervalued company assets, including its online real estate business. The move was widely seen as a way for Lachlan Murdoch to cement his control over the family media empire.
James Murdoch, Rupert’s other son, wrote letters to the boards of both companies raising questions about the proposed deal, according to a person familiar with the correspondence, who asked not to be identified because the letters haven’t been made public. He resigned from the News Corp. board in 2020 due to disagreements over editorial content and strategy.
Still, the proposal prompted investors to take a deeper look at the assets of both companies, in particular News Corp.’s online real estate businesses, Move Inc. The company said Tuesday it is in talks to sell Move to CoStar Group Inc., confirming an earlier Bloomberg report. The deal could value the business at about $3 billion, people familiar with the discussions said.

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