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Indy11

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Tuesday, April 6th 2004, 11:30am

From todays NY Times: Murdoch Plans to Move News Corp. to U.S. By KENNETH N. GILPIN Published: April 6, 2004 News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch´s mammoth global media company, said this morning it intends to reincorporate in the United States from Australia, where it has been domiciled since 1949, when Sir Keith Murdoch, Mr. Murdoch´s father, began to buy up interests in Australian newspapers. As part of the move, the company said it will shift its primary listing to the New York Stock Exchange, while retaining secondary listings in Australia and on the London Stock Exchange. Two classes of News Corporation stock are currently traded in the United States, but as American depository receipts. Many institutions and pension funds are precluded from owning such shares. In addition, Fox Entertainment Group, the company´s American subsidiary, has traded as a free-standing entity since 1996. The company said the reorganization will be accomplished under an Australian law that will allow existing holders of News Corporation ordinary and preferred shares, including the A.D.R.´s traded in the United States, to exchange their voting and non-voting common stock in a new corporation based in Delaware that will become the new parent company. The new shares will have "essentially" the same rights as the company´s existing ordinary and preferred shares, News Corporation said. The exchange is expected to be tax-free for the "vast majority" of News Corporation shareholders, the company said. In many respects, News Corporation´s move will catch the company up with reality. Mr. Murdoch, who is 73 and recently became the father of twin daughters by his third wife, moved to the United States in the 1970´s and became an American citizen in 1985. More than 75 percent of News Corporation´s revenues and profits are generated in the United States. Still, the company has retained its links with its Australian heritage. It has continued to hold annual general meetings in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia where News Corporation has its registered office. Analysts said the timing of the move was not completely clear. "I don´t know why they did this now," said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at Fulcrum Partners. "Simplifying Mr. Murdoch´s ownership of News Corporation is part of this. And the company and its managers, who are compensated in non-voting shares, have grown increasingly frustrated by the price differential between the voting and non-voting shares," Mr. Greenfield said. Until this morning, there was a spread, or difference, of about 12 percent between News Corporation´s voting NWS shares and the non-voting NWS/A shares. The spread has narrowed in recent weeks, from as high as 22 percent. And the gap narrowed further after the opening of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. By late morning, shares of the voting stock were up 34 cents, to $37.22 a share. But the non-voting shares, which are much more frequently traded, jumped by $1.74, to $34.63 a share. "People are only beginning to figure this out," Mr. Greenfield said. "The spread is beginning to close." News Corporation is hopeful that the move to the United States will dramatically broaden the potential investor base for the non-voting shares, thereby lifting its price. "Narrowing the gap between the voting and non-voting shares in the United States," is a big motivating force behind the move, said David Joyce, an analyst at Guzman & Company. In a conference call, News Corporation executives said the change had been discussed for some time, but that the timing had been delayed by the company´s recent purchase of DirecTV, the satellite television company. Once News Corporation is based in the United States, Mr. Greenfield said, its shares will almost certainly be included in the Standard & Poor´s 500 index. And he said he expected that at some point Fox Entertainment will no longer trade independently. "Now that News Corporation is going to be a U.S.-listed company, the whole basis for Fox to be listed is going away," he said. Fox Entertainment was offered to the public in 1996 to highlight the value of News Corporation´s American-based entertainment businesses and play down the company´s international assets, which were seen as both unattractive and confusing to most American investors. However, the landscape has changed over the last eight years, Mr. Greenfield said. "International is where the growth is," he said. "The United States is a mature market. Among its media peers, nobody else comes close to being as global as News Corporation." In addition to its extensive publishing holdings in Britain, News Corporation owns Sky Italia, Sky Latin America and BSkyB, its Asian satellite operation. In the United States, News Corporation owns The New York Post, the Fox television network and produces movies and television shows like "The Simpsons." The move "adds another major investment within the media space that people can´t look past any more," Mr. Greenfield added. "This will be a $50 billion media company with faster growth and a cheaper valuation than the others," he said. As part of the reorganization, the Murdoch family will sell its 58 percent stake in Queensland Press, one of Australia´s most profitable newspaper publishing groups, to News Corporation. News Corporation already owned 42 percent of the company. In addition, the Murdoch family will also sell Cruden Investments, its private holding company, to the new, United States-based News Corporation in exchange for voting stock in the new company. As a result of these transactions, the Murdoch family´s voting rights in News Corporation will be trimmed to 29.45 percent, from 29.87 percent. The relocation is subject to shareholder approval. News Corporation said it expected the shift to take place by the end of the year.

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Tuesday, April 6th 2004, 5:59pm

It baffles me why these guys keep on doing this, he´s 73 years old, has billions of dollars yet continues to spend every waking hour working his butt off. You think you´d go out and enjoy a bit of life before you bite the big one.
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Tawakalna

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Tuesday, April 6th 2004, 6:08pm

Power. The guy controls and manipulates the opinions of millions upon millions of people, and governments suck up to him. You don´t give upon power like that, the wealth isn´t an issue.
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Tuesday, April 6th 2004, 6:18pm

Didn´t think of that, still what´s the point of having power when your on your death bed? I´d rather have a wealth of memories of the people I loved rather than a wealth of memories of greedy boardroom w*nkers.
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Tuesday, April 6th 2004, 6:26pm

that´s because you´re normal (relatively speaking <img src=smilies/icon_smile_big.gif width=15 height=15 border=0 align=middle>) and haven´t been corrupted by wealth and power. No-one willingly gives up power (except Diocletian) e.g. look at all those ancient Soviet leaders and Politburo who were leftovers from the Revolution and kept artificially alive (almost!) but they clung onto their power right to the bitter end. Murdoch may not have nukes and armies but he commands the thoughts of millions and governments won´t dare to cross him, especially ours. The British labour Party with the Sun newspaper on it´s side? Giveover. They bought his support and dance to his tune. Boardrooms are full of men like this, they´re just bullies making up for their inadequacies and insecurties. Most MDs and CEOs have this mentality - it´s just the corruption of power and control.
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Wednesday, April 7th 2004, 2:31am

Gives him something to do in his spare time, I guess <img src=smilies/icon_smile_wink.gif width=15 height=15 border=0 align=middle>

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Wednesday, April 7th 2004, 8:45am

Yeah, power. Nothing else drives a person quite so thoroughly. Gotta hand it to ol´ Rupe, he´s led a one-man crusade to change the way the media should behave in regard to the public and the public´s weaknesses. OK. So he owns the The Times. And he probably owns a few other &quot;respectable&quot; newspapers which, seemingly, he leaves alone. But the vast majority of what News Corporation does to make money is to pander. Fox News, &quot;fair and balanced&quot; is such a joke but... so many watch it. *shudder* <i> sic transit gloria mundi </i> indeed. Edited by - Indy11 on 4/7/2004 7:47:23 AM

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Wednesday, April 7th 2004, 4:31pm

How can you say that, Indy!?! If you can´t trust the media, who <i>can </i> you trust? <img src=smilies/icon_smile_wink.gif width=15 height=15 border=0 align=middle>

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Wednesday, April 7th 2004, 5:07pm

Actually I was going to mention the repectability of Fox News, I can honestly say that i´ve never seen such a bunch of patriotic clap trap in my entire life. It´s really at the opposite end of the scale to Al Jezeera. Actually Rupert was in adelaide yesterday overseeing a new building for our local rag, I should have gone down and given him a piece of my mind! <img src=smilies/icon_smile_tongue.gif width=15 height=15 border=0 align=middle>
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Wednesday, April 7th 2004, 6:48pm

I wish you had; I would have been interested in hearing his response.

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