Murdoch scraps merger of Fox and News Corp after investor opposition

Rupert Murdoch has scrapped a proposal to merge Fox and News Corp after his attempt to reunite the two halves of his media empire was thwarted by shareholders.

The Murdoch companies announced on Tuesday that the “special committees” set up to examine the terms of the alleged merger would be dissolved with immediate effect because the proposal “at this time” does not represent the interests of Fox and News shareholders. Corp served.

Fox and News Corp said Murdoch and his son Lachlan determined the combination was “not optimal” for shareholders, acknowledging the reservations of major investors who feared the merger would not realize the full value of the assets.

In addition to scrapping the planned merger, News Corp is in advanced talks to sell its 80 percent stake in Move to rival CoStar, according to three people who were aware of the negotiations.

The stake in Move, which operates realtor.com in the US alongside other real estate websites, is valued in the “low billions” of dollars, the people added.

A sale of the Move interest would be significant enough to change the calculation for the committees that evaluate the merger of Fox and News Corp, one of the people said.

Murdoch, 91, proposed in October to re-merge the television group behind the Fox News cable channel with the owner of newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, in a deal that would rejoin the remnants of his empire after nearly a decade. would have attached.

Murdoch believed there were opportunities for collaboration between Fox and News Corp’s business news brands, including Fox Business, Fox News, Barron’s, MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the plans said.

However, he was met with opposition from some of News Corp’s major shareholders who believed the merged company would be worth less in the stock market than the separate groups.

News Corp owns about 80 percent of Move, with the remaining 20 percent owned by REA Group, the publicly traded Australian real estate group also majority owned by News Corp.

CoStar is the Nasdaq-listed owner of brands such as Apartments.com, LoopNet and Homes.com. The group is one of the largest digital real estate companies in America, with a market capitalization of approximately $32 billion.

Digital real estate has become a much larger part of News Corp’s overall business, growing from 5 percent of total revenue in 2014 to 17 percent in 2022. Revenues in the group’s digital real estate segment grew 25 percent to more than $1 .7 billion in fiscal year 2022. Move reported revenue growth of 11 percent to $712 million last year.

News Corp acquired Move in 2014 for $950 million, a deal that CEO Robert Thomson described at the time as an “exponential evolution” of the company’s print publishing business.

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