Things are hotting up. Not only are shareholders groups gathering to question the running of the company, but Tom Watson MP has flown in with a proxy.
As he will be part of the group grilling James M (aka Sonnie Jim) in the House of Commons committee real soon now, the atmosphere could be even more electric.
Better to face angry shareholders on a full stomach.
News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch chowed down with sons Lachlan and James on the Fox lot Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the company's much-anticipated annual meeting.
Friday will mark the first time since the phone hacking scandal at the now-shuttered News of the World British tabloid turned into a global story that Murdoch has addressed shareholders. Two influential shareholder advisory firms and the nation's largest pension fund, CalPERS, are pushing to remove Murdoch and his sons from the company's board.
..News Corp. had revenues of more than $33 billion for .. year ending last June, ..... the focus of the meeting will likely be on how the company has handled the News of the World mess.
The scandal, in which News of the World operatives hacked into voice mail accounts of celebrities, members of the British royal family and even crime victims, has had massive repercussions for the company. Not only did top executives Les Hinton and Rebekah Brooks resign from their senior positions at News Corp. because of their roles in the News of the World fiasco, but also a long-planned $12-billion deal to acquire the 60% of BSkyB it didn't already own was scuttled and lawmakers in Britain and the U.S. ....launched investigations into the company.
Probably nothing at this meeting, but more setting the stage for later ones, and other companies beware, the sleeping dogs called the owners are being stirred into awakening.
The lucky thing for Rupert is the incorporation in Delaware, if it was still Aus based, he would be half gone by now with a new law on dissent from the remuneration report. And one has to add from the same source:
News Corp. has given no sign ...... any intention of restructuring its board of directors. Last week, in reaction to a recommendation from advisory firm Institutional Shareholders Services that the Murdochs be voted off the board, the company said the "disproportionate focus on these issues is misguided and a disservice to our stockholders."
The heat the company will be facing Friday won't be limited to the Zanuck Theater on the Fox lot where the annual meeting is being held. The Los Angeles version of Occupy Wall Street has also expressed ..intent to protest at the meeting.
One word of warning to the protesters. Don't try to go after Murdoch with a pie. His wife, Wendi Deng, packs a mean punch.
For more on the annual meeting, please see this story in the Los Angeles Times.