Selling
Crikey was supposed to free up my time for more effective shareholder
activism, but your useless correspondent failed to appoint his proxy in
time for last night’s News Corp EGM in New York. Such oversights in
Australia could usually be overcome, but standards are tougher in the
US and Rupert wasn’t providing any slack at the company’s first
shareholder meeting since leaving Australia last November.

A
Crikey subscriber in New York duly turned up and attempted to enter the
room at the New York Hilton in the name of another shareholder who had
approved the move. I’ve never been asked for ID when attending hundreds
of Australian AGMs, but accurately reciting the registered address of a
shareholder wasn’t enough for Rupert’s door minions and when the ID
couldn’t be produced, our intrepid Crikey subscriber was denied entry.

Another
standard practice in Australia is for visitors to be allowed to observe
AGMs, but Rupert’s people weren’t playing ball with this either.
Visitors were banned. The press was allowed and a handful turned up
but, for her own reasons, our Crikey subscriber didn’t want to do this.

Without
our subscriber there to ask some specific and pointed questions, News
Corp’s first US shareholder meeting returned to the bad old days of
Adelaide in the 1990s when Rupert was asked one question in seven
years. It was all over in 20 minutes and only one of the 25
shareholders attending bothered to ask any questions, 75-year-old
self-declared “world’s most famous shareholder” Evelyn Davis. Check out the story of her exchange with Rupert here. She sounds as crazy as Jack Tilburn who, sadly, never got to Adelaide.

Rupert
and finance director David Devoe were the only two directors who showed
up, making it the worst attended News Corp shareholder meeting in
history. Let’s hope they do much better at the AGM.

For the record, the resolution to approve the new incentive scheme was passed easily and the full results should be available here later today.

Peter Fray

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