It’s now more than three days since the News Corp AGM in New York and Rupert Murdoch is still refusing to release the full proxy votes in the biggest shareholder rebuff that he’s ever suffered. The AFR’s Chancticleer column has today pointed out that Rupert “is hiding behind US rules, which don’t demand full voting records until up to six months after the meeting”. The same thing probably would have happened at last year’s AGM except that I made several specific requests to prise the exact voting information out of the world’s most powerful and dictatorial media mogul. This enabled the following table to be published in a Crikey special edition four hours after the AGM had finished:
Director pay rise
The largest against vote last year was 30% on the board pay rise resolution, so this year’s 43% vote against the extension of the notorious poison pill for another two years is clearly a record, but we need to see the detail, as well as the size of the protest against the re-election of Lachlan Murdoch.
Going back in News Corp history, the biggest previous recorded no vote was in 2000 when Rupert got a scare on an executive options proposal. Adjusting for the one-for-two share consolidation in 2004, this result equated to 196.35 million votes in favour and 126.7 million against.
We never saw the proxies for the 2003 options resolution which was withdrawn ahead of certain defeat, so the 39.22% against vote in 2000 was a record until the events of Friday night.
Rupert’s local flagship, The Australian , still hasn’t even reported the 43% against so I’ve sent off a letter to the editor and we’ll see what appears tomorrow.
For a company which has supposedly embraced the internet, something strange is happening with News Corp’s corporate website . The corporate governance page remains blank, the last press release is from 8 June, the AGM wasn’t webcast as promised in the proxy statement and the home page still claims the latest major event was the poison pill shareholder settlement in April.