Despite a halving in the News Corp share price, Rupert Murdoch put his hand out for more in the 2008 financial year — or rather his “independent” board filled his pockets for him.
A US media report says Murdoch, the News chairman and chief executive, received compensation valued at $US30.1 million in the fiscal year ended June 30 — an increase of 24% from a year ago.
That’s according to an analysis of a regulatory filing analysed by The Associated Press.
The AP report said that Murdoch received a base salary of $US8.1 million, as he did the year before, according to the Tuesday filing, and he did not receive a cash bonus.
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“The bulk of his remuneration came from a nonstock incentive plan tied to the company’s per-share earnings performance. That bonus was $17.5 million, up 11% from the $15.8 million he got in fiscal 2007,” the AP reported.
The company’s shares fell 54% in the same period, as investors soured on media companies affected by the shift in ad spending to online from traditional media sources.
Murdoch also received $US403,169 — 13% more than in 2007 — for personal use of the company’s jet and car services.
News Corp. President Peter Chernin’s compensation grew 7% to $US29.3 million, primarily because he received more stock awards than a year ago.
Chernin’s base salary held steady at $US8.1 million, while his bonus linked to the company’s per-share earnings rose 8% to $US11.3 million. The company awarded him stock options it valued at $US9.5 million, up 12% from a year ago. He also received $US21, 947 in above-market returns on deferred compensation.
The figures were disclosed in the company’s proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
The Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives’ salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.
Fox News’ Roger Ailes, a Rupert favourite, received shares worth almost $US4.5m for last October’s launch of the Fox Business Network, according to a report in The Financial Times. This is despite poor ratings. The Washington Post last month reported that The Nielsen Company had found that the new channel was averaging just 8,000 viewers during daytime hours, when business viewers are supposed to tune in from their desks, and 20,000 viewers in prime time.
The Financial Times reported that the media measurement group has not published its data for the Fox Business Network, as the new channel’s ratings are currently below its minimum reporting standards.
The shares given to Mr Ailes lifted his total compensation from $US10.9m to $US19.9m.
The Financial Times said Wendi Murdoch, Mr Murdoch’s wife, was paid $US100,000 for advising the company as it sought to take its MySpace social networking site into China. She also joined other MySpace China executives in being granted options over 2.5 per cent of the shares of MySpace China.