The 23,000+ Crikey army has tentacles all over the world, but we’re really keen to find someone who can be in New York on the morning of 30 June to ask Rupert Murdoch a few questions at his first News Corp shareholders meeting outside Australia.
The gathering is to approve a lucrative and controversial new executive share plan so Rupert can issue stock to his top brass in a way similar to one rejected by his Australian shareholders in 2003.
Crikey is in the market for a proxy so if anyone is available to be at the New York Hilton (1,335 Avenue of the Americas) at 10am on 30 June to fire off some questions, please email [email protected] with your details and we’ll ensure you get duly appointed to represent us in good time. You can read the details of the executive share scheme announced on 26 May here.
Rupert Murdoch was asked just one question in seven years before Crikey started turning up to his News Corp AGMs in Adelaide in 1999, so it would be a shame if the first New York meeting saw a return to the dark old days of no shareholders speaking up.
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Meanwhile, Rupert really is cranking up the buyback to keep the News Corp share price strong as the third 25% came out of the Australian indices on Friday. Amid an avalanche of trading that saw the ASX botch an extension of trading hours on Friday, News Corp spent another $180 million soaking up stock, adding to the $92 million spent on Thursday, the first day after the $3.9 billion buyback over two years was announced.
News Corp voting shares surged 42c to $23.27 on Friday but were this morning 46c weaker at $22.81. However, the non-voting shares lost 19c to $21.60 on Friday and this morning was 8c stronger at $21.68. Those sorts of irrational gyrations suggest the market has been distorted.
Trading in Australia was heavier than when the last 25% came out as about 23 million ordinary shares worth more than $500 million changed hands during local turnover on Friday. But this was well shy of the estimated 50 million shares which changed hands on the day when the first 25% came out in December.