Business

Murdoch cancels merger of Fox and News Corp after investor pushback


Rupert Murdoch has dropped a proposed merger of Fox and News Corp after his efforts to bring the two halves of his media empire together were opposed by shareholders.

Murdoch’s companies announced Tuesday that “special committees” set up to learn the terms of a hypothetical merger would be dissolved with immediate effect on the grounds of the proposal. does not serve the interests of Fox and News Corp shareholders “at this time.”

Fox and News Corp said Murdoch and his son Lachlan had determined that the combination was “not optimal” for shareholders, an acknowledgment of reservations among large investors who fear the prospect of losing money. merger will not realize the full value of the property.

In addition to canceling the merger plan, the Murdoch family is in advanced talks to sell Move’s 80% stake to rival CoStar, according to three people briefed on the negotiations.

Shares in Move, which operates realtor.com in the United States among other real estate websites, are valued at “underdog” of dollars, the people added.

One source said the move would be large enough to change the calculations of the committees evaluating the merger of Fox and News Corp.

“Mudoch points out that . . . a combination is not optimal for Fox and News Corp shareholders at this time,” the companies said Wednesday.

Murdoch, 91, in October proposed reuniting the TV team behind cable channel Fox News with the owners of newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, in a deal that would tie up what remains. of his empire after nearly a decade apart.

Murdoch believes there is a partnership opportunity between Fox and News Corp’s business news brands, including Fox Business, Fox News, Barron’s, MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the plans said.

However, he faced resistance from some of News Corp’s major shareholders, who argued that the merged company would be worth less on the stock market than the individual groups.

News Corp owns about 80% of Move, while the remaining 20% ​​is held by REA Group, an Australian listed property group also majority owned by News Corp.

Costar is the Nasdaq-listed owner of brands including Apartments.com, LoopNet and Homes.com. The group is one of the largest digital real estate businesses in the US, with a market value of approximately $32 billion.

Digital real estate has become a much more important part of News Corp’s overall business, growing from 5% of total revenue in 2014 to 17% in 2022. Revenue in the real estate segment The group’s digital business grew 25% to over $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2022. Move reported revenue growth of 11% to $712 million last year.

News Corp in 2014 acquired Move for $950 million, a deal that chief executive Robert Thomson at the time described as the “exponential growth” of the publishing business. company print.

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