News Corp-Fox Merger Plan Faces Opposition From Major Shareholder

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(Reuters) -Independent Franchise Partners, a major investor in News Corp and Fox Corp, opposes media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s plan to recombine the companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The London-based investment firm told a special committee of News Corp’s board last month that it thinks a combination on its own would fail to realize the full value of the company, the report said, citing a statement from the shareholder.

Independent is the second investor to express dissent over the plan. News Corp investor Irenic Capital earlier this week suggested a spin-off of the media company’s digital real estate business or Dow Jones as an alternative to the merger.

News Corp declined to comment on the WSJ report, while Fox did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Independent Franchise Partners, which owns about 7% of News Corp’s Class A shares and 6.4% in Fox Corp, did not immediately respond either.

In October, Murdoch proposed to reunite his media empire nearly a decade after placing his print business in newly created public entity News Corp and the TV and entertainment businesses under 21st Century Fox.

Several analysts have raised concerns over the merger, saying that News Corp needs to simplify by selling off or spinning off assets instead of recombining with Fox.

Speaking to Reuters on Monday, Huber Research Partners analyst Craig Huber had said that Irenic Capital’s displeasure with the merger would bring more investors forward.

“Maybe this will open up the floodgates,” he had said.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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