UPDATE, 2:18 PM: The official results of today’s shareholder votes are in and while Fox management won resounding victories, the tallies show a few interesting nuances. Nearly 29% of those voting yes or no endorsed a shareholder resolution to make the chairman independent. Just 15.3% opposed the company’s management compensation plan in the government-mandated say-on-pay advisory vote. A shareholder proposal in the proxy to get rid of the dual stock system wasn’t considered because there was no one at the meeting to present it. As for the directors, the smallest victory margins went to Lachlan Murdoch (75.3%) and James Murdoch (80.5%) while the most popular candidate was BHP Billiton Chairman Jacques Nasser (99.2%). Rupert Murdoch was elected with 90.9%, behind COO Chase Carey’s 92.4%.
PREVIOUS, 10:49 AM: So much for the effort by some activist investors and advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services to protest 21st Century Fox’s corporate governance practices. In a shareholder meeting that lasted less than 34 minutes, CEO Rupert Murdoch said that all of the company’s board candidates had been re-elected. Company critics also wanted changes that would require the chairman to be independent (Murdoch now is both CEO and chairman), and to eliminate the dual classes of stock that enable the Murdoch family to control 39.4% of the votes even though it owns just 14% of the all shares. The exact vote on those resolutions will be disclosed later although the outcome isn’t in doubt. ISS and others were upset that Fox adopted an anti-takeover plan called a poison pill in June when Murdoch split his assets between two companies: 21st Century Fox for entertainment, and News Corp for publishing. ISS called on Fox shareholders to oppose Murdoch, his sons James and Lachlan, COO Chase Carey, and five Murdoch allies. The CEO told the gathering that Fox “has never been better positioned to deliver long term value” and, with $6.6B in cash, has “significant flexibility.”
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