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News Corp faces activist investor Starboard Value

Oct 16, 2023

Starboard Value CEO Jeffrey Smith. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Activist investor Starboard Value has bought shares of News Corp, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal report.

Why it matters: The firm could push for changes following Rupert Murdoch stepping down as chairman and handing control to his son Lachlan.

Details: Starboard plans to push for News Corp to spin off its online real estate division and to end its dual-class share structure, according to the Journal.

  • The size of the stake was not reported. It had been acquiring shares over the summer, ahead of Murdoch stepping down, per Reuters.
  • Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith will present at two conferences this week, including the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Investment Summit, Reuters reported.

Catch up quick: News Corp had been making moves aligned with Starboard's reported push. It was in talks to sell parent company Move Inc. to CoStar Group. for more than $3 billion earlier this year. But it abandoned the plan in February.

  • Rupert Murdoch also proposed combining News Corp and Fox Corp last year. That proposal was called off in January. Activist investor Irenic Capital, which had acquired around 2% of News Corp shares, was against it and also suggested spinning off its real estate business instead.

Of note: Starboard had made moves at Salesforce last year after acquiring a stake of 3 million shares, worth $400 million.

News Corp declined to comment. Starboard did not respond to a request for comment.

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