Rupert Murdoch drops Fox, News Corp merger after investor pushback

A number of News Corp investors publicly opposed the merger of two of Mr Rupert Murdoch's companies, saying it undervalued company assets. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK – Media magnate Rupert Murdoch said he was abandoning plans to explore a recombination Fox and News Corp, two media companies he controls.

Fox said on Tuesday that it had received a letter from Mr Murdoch saying he and and his son Lachlan, the chief executive officer of Fox, had determined a combination was “not optimal” for the shareholders at this time. News Corp issued a similar release.

Special committees of the boards that were examining the merger have been dissolved. 

The deal, first announced in October, promised to reunite the parents of Fox News and the Fox broadcast business with the print news operation that includes the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and HarperCollins book publishing. The recombination, coming a decade after the companies had first split up, was a controversial one, however.

A number of News Corp investors publicly opposed the merger saying it undervalued company assets, including its online real estate operation. The move was widely seen as a way for Lachlan Murdoch to cement his control over the family media empire.

News Corp shares fell more than 1 per cent in after-hours trading. Fox shares rose by about 2 per cent. BLOOMBERG

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