New York, NY – May 24, 2013 – News Corporation and the new News Corporation today announced that the separation of News Corporation (the “Company”) into two distinct publicly traded companies, 21st Century Fox and the new News Corporation, has been formally approved by the Company’s Board of Directors. The Company announced appointments to the Boards of Directors of both companies, effective upon the completion of the separation, which is expected to occur on June 28, 2013.
In connection with the separation, the Company’s Board has approved the distribution of all shares of the new News Corporation to the Company’s stockholders in a ratio of one share of the new News Corporation for every four shares of News Corporation. Furthermore, the Board authorized a $500 million stock repurchase program for the new News Corporation following completion of the separation.
“Today’s announcement is a significant step in creating two independent companies with the world’s leading portfolios of publishing and media and entertainment assets,” said Rupert Murdoch, who will serve as Chairman and CEO of the proposed 21st Century Fox, and Executive Chairman of the new News Corporation. “We continue to believe that the separation will unlock the true value of both companies and their distinct assets, enabling investors to benefit from the separate strategic opportunities resulting from more focused management of each division.”
Mr. Murdoch continued: “The two new industry leaders created by the separation will be guided by the insights of accomplished individuals who collectively bring to each company demonstrated business acumen and a diversity of experience.”
Boards of Directors Effective upon Completion of Separation
21st Century Fox:
• Rupert Murdoch
• Delphine Arnault*
• James Breyer
• Chase Carey
• David DeVoe
• Viet Dinh
• Sir Roderick Eddington
• James Murdoch
• Lachlan Murdoch
• Jacques Nasser*
• Robert Silberman*
• Álvaro Uribe
The new News Corporation:
• Rupert Murdoch
• José María Aznar
• Natalie Bancroft
• Peter Barnes
• Elaine Chao
• John Elkann*
• Joel Klein
• James Murdoch
• Lachlan Murdoch
• Ana Paula Pessoa*
• Masroor Siddiqui*
• Robert Thomson*
(* indicates Directors not on the current News Corporation Board — biographies below.)
The stock of the new News Corporation, which will be comprised of newspapers, information services and integrated marketing services, digital real estate services, book publishing, digital education and sports programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia, will be distributed to the current stockholders of News Corporation as a stock dividend. For every four shares of News Corporation Class A Common Stock or Class B Common Stock, each stockholder will receive one share of new News Corporation Class A Common Stock or Class B Common Stock, respectively. Stockholders will receive cash in lieu of any fractional shares of new News Corporation. Following the distribution of all of the shares of the new News Corporation common stock to the Company’s stockholders, the new News Corporation will be an independent, publicly traded company, and News Corporation will retain no ownership interest. Effective as of the separation, and subject to the approval of the Company’s stockholders, News Corporation will change its name to 21st Century Fox, and the new News Corporation will be named News Corporation.
The separation is subject to a number of conditions, including approval by the Company’s stockholders of certain amendments to its charter that will facilitate the separation, as well as the receipt of certain tax rulings and regulatory approvals, and the effectiveness of the Registration Statement on Form 10 that the new News Corporation filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company’s Board also maintains the discretion to withdraw its approval of the separation and authorization of the dividend prior to the effective date of the separation. The Company currently expects that all conditions to the separation will be satisfied or waived on or before the date of separation.
The new News Corporation Stock Repurchase Program
The Company also announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program for the new News Corporation in the amount of $500 million of new News Corporation’s shares of Class A Common Stock, to be initiated on an opportunistic basis following the completion of the separation. Timing for purchases under the program will be dependent on the new News Corporation’s available liquidity and cash flow as well as its consideration of general market conditions. The repurchase program may be executed through various methods, including open market repurchases.
Stockholder Rights Agreements
News Corporation and the new News Corporation also announced that, in advance of the separation, the Board of Directors of the Company and the current Board of the new News Corporation has each determined to adopt stockholder rights agreements for the Company and for new News Corporation, respectively. The rights agreements would expire one year after the date of this announcement, in the case of the Company, or one year after the date of the separation, in the case of the new News Corporation.
The Company has considered that there may be significant volume of trading in shares of 21st Century Fox and the new News Corporation around the time of the separation, and for a period thereafter. The rights agreements are intended to protect the stockholders of the Company and the new News Corporation from efforts to obtain control of such companies that their respective Boards of Directors determine are not in the best interests of the companies and their respective stockholders. The rights agreements are not intended to interfere with any merger, tender or exchange offer or other business transaction approved by either the Board of Directors of News Corporation or the Board of Directors of the new News Corporation, and such rights agreements do not prevent either Board of Directors from considering any offer that it considers to be in the best interest of its stockholders.
Under the rights agreements, each outstanding share of common stock of News Corporation and the new News Corporation, as applicable, will have attached to it one right, with the distribution of the rights by dividend to be conditioned upon consummation of the separation.
Initially, the rights will be represented by the common stock of News Corporation or the new News Corporation, as applicable, and will not be traded separately from the common stock and will not be exercisable. Beginning on the date of this public announcement, any acquisition of shares of voting common stock of the Company or the new News Corporation, whether as a result of acquiring shares representing new News Corporation voting common stock in the when-issued trading market or shares of News Corporation voting common stock in the ex-dividend market, or otherwise, will be taken into account in calculating the beneficial ownership of a person or group for the purposes of determining whether the rights have become exercisable.
The rights will become exercisable for common stock of the Company or new News Corporation, as applicable, only if, after the date of this public announcement, a person or group obtains beneficial ownership (defined to include stock which a person has the right to acquire, regardless of whether such right is subject to the passage of time or the satisfaction of conditions), including by means of a tender offer, of 15% or more of the applicable company’s voting common stock, at which time, unless the applicable Board of Directors redeems the rights, each right would enable the holder of such right to buy additional shares of common stock of the Company or the new News Corporation, as applicable. Following the acquisition of 15% or more of the applicable company’s voting common stock, each right will entitle its holder (other than the acquiring person or group) to purchase, at the exercise price (subject to adjustments provided in the rights agreements), a number of shares of the applicable company’s voting or non-voting common stock, as applicable, having a then-current market value of twice the exercise price, and in the event of a subsequent merger or other acquisition of the applicable company, to purchase, at the exercise price, a number of shares of common stock of the acquiring entity having a then-current market value of twice the exercise price. The exercise price for the News Corporation rights and the new News Corporation rights will be $150.00 and $90.00, respectively.
The rights will not become exercisable by virtue of any person’s or group’s beneficial ownership, as of the date of this public announcement, of 15% or more of the voting common stock of News Corporation or the new News Corporation, as applicable, unless such person or group acquires beneficial ownership of additional shares of the applicable company’s voting common stock after the date hereof.