Rupert had his customary press conference at the end of the AGM and shareholders were able to listen in. Reporters from The Deal, AP, Reuters, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The AFR, The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today and a couple of other outlets all got up to ask questions.
There were several Australian journalists present including Sean Aylmer from The AFR, Michael Rowland from the ABC, Mark Coultan from The SMH, Bulletin and News Ltd freelancer Luke Collins and David Nasan from The Australian.
The AFR, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times did focus on relations with John Malone and the poison pill and Rupert didn’t hold back in taking a shot at their questions.
Sean Ayler was told that The AFR was the only paper that thought there was a problem with the poison pill extension whilst Sundeep Tucker from The FT copped quite a broadside. “Your paper got our big result wrong today,” declared Rupert. “You said over 20%, you got it wrong.”
Sandeep kept her composure and correctly pointed out that the FT
merely quoted Stuart Grant, from the law firm running the institutional
litigation in Delaware, Grant & Eisenhofer, predicting a protest
vote of more than 20%.
Operationally, there was most interest at
the press conference in News Corp’s big push onto the internet and
Peter Chernin did disclose that News Corp is now in the top 5 globally
in terms of traffic and second in the world in terms of ad impressions.
bullishly told the meeting that Myspace.com is adding a staggering
130,000 members every day. Whilst “execution” of the integration of the
recent takeovers will be a challenge, Chernin focused on the “enormous
opportunity” for monetising all this traffic.
The early reports
from the AGM are trickling in. Amusingly, Rupert’s spinners leaked the
votes to their Australian papers before the meeting or the New York
stock exchange had been told, as you can see in The Australian and the Herald Sun. The SMH also ran with this feature on John Malone as the meeting was commencing.
MarketWatch was first out with this comprehensive account of the meeting, although it has missed the size, scale and significance of the protest vote, which had still not been announced to the New York Stock Exchange by close of trade at 4pm.
has picked up on the protest and quotes an analyst describing it as
“significant”, whilst Reuters has gone with Rupert’s declaration there
has been “no outcry” against the poison pill extension.
News Corp shares closed down US24c at a year low of $US15.28 during Friday trade in New York.