News Corp spinner Andrew Butcher writes:
As usual, Stephen Mayne’s conspiracy theory is so much sexier than the reality. Had you bothered to ask — now there’s a novel concept — I would have given you the numbers on the attached document.
They are the same full and final numbers I handed to the media at the Annual Meeting within minutes of the completion of voting. I don’t even know what US rules demand, but we gave out the vote instantly. I emailed them to others who asked for them as soon as I returned to the office.
As for your suggestion that we “probably” wouldn’t have given them out last year without your requests, I just don’t know what the world would do without you standing up for truth, justice and accuracy in all things.
Stephen Mayne responds:
We’re delighted to have the world exclusive on the voting outcome. Check them out here because you won’t find details of the biggest protest vote in News Corp history anywhere else.
There are a number of interesting stories in the figures. The first ever shareholder resolution was put up by nutty activist Evelyn Davis and her proposal for directors to face annual elections would have won but for Rupert’s 308 million shares because there were 196.8 million votes in favour, a further 195.5 million abstained and 405 million against.
The media have also failed to report the biggest ever protest vote against News Corp directors.
Last year we had a record when the “abstain” votes (you can’t actually vote against directors in the US) ranged between 108-122 million shares. This year they ranged between 195 million and the new record of 202.3 million which is now held by Lachlan Murdoch.
In terms of the two year poison pill extension, there were 454.1 million votes in favour and 339.2 million against. Strip out Rupert’s 308 million shares and the independent against vote rises to a massive 70%.
So there you have it. Rupert doesn’t give a stuff what his independent shareholders think and believes that his family’s control of News Corp, even though the economic interest is barely 10%, is the single most important consideration.
And we’re still waiting for The Australian to report these basic facts, let alone run the letter I sent them yesterday.