The Weekend Australian, The AFR, The Age and The SMH publishes lists of our top 150 companies by market
capitalisation each week, but the clangers keep on appearing due to the crazy computing of those monopolists at the

The latest lists claim that News Corp is worth a staggering
$117.62 billion, almost double the size of its nearest rival,
BHP-Billiton, which is valued at $68.5 billion and almost four times
the size of Telstra, which comes in ninth at just $30.5 billion.

After spending $650 million buying back shares late in June, News
was left with 1.343 billion voting shares and 3.978 billion non-voting
shares. On Friday, the voting shares closed at $23.08, valuing them at
$31 billion, whilst the
non-voting shares closed at $21.78, valuing them at $86.6 billion. This
does indeed make a total of $117.6 billion, but 75% of News Corp
has now been removed from the Australian indexes after last year’s
move to America, so why is the ASX and all our quality newspapers still listing 100%?

To be consistent, surely they should include the government’s 51.9%
stake in Telstra, thereby increasing its claimed market capitalisation
to about $61.5 billion. Similarly, why aren’t the London listed shares
in BHP-Billiton included? The old BHP shares are indeed valued at
$68.48 billion but this excludes the 2.5 billion old Billiton shares
which still trade on the London market and make up the enlarged BHP
Billiton group, a dual-listed entity.

Based on Friday’s close of $19.09, these are worth $47.7 billion and
the entire BHP-Billiton group is capitalised at $116.23 billion, just a
few hundred million less than the value of News Corp.

Given that News Corp is now an American company that by the end of
September will have no presence in any Australian index, its right to
be on any such list is dubious to start with and certainly not worthy
when you consider that the two largest Australian-based companies are
not even fully valued on our market, if you believe the ASX’s flawed figures.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey