News Corp shareholders okay US reincorporation

MUMBAI: The Rupert Murodch owned media conlgomerate News Corporation has announced that its shareholders and optionholders have approved the company's reincorporation in the US.

News Corp expects the reorganisation to be completed by the end of the year

Addressing the company's last board meeting in Adelaide yesterday 26 August Murdoch who serves as chairman and CEO of the company added, "On the television front we are making significant progress at our pan-Asian channel business Star. Star has certainly become an important and potentially significant growth engine for the company in the past two years as it has turned solidly profitable.

"After years of losses, Star reported a modest profit in fiscal 2003, but last year grew earnings eightfold to more than $50 million. Assuming continued success in India with Star Plus and continued growth in China we are confident of strong earnings improvements again in fiscal 2005.

As far as the reincorporation movie is concerned over 90 per cent of the shareholders (excluding the Murdoch family and associates) voted in favour of the reincorporation. The required majority was 75 per cent..

"We firmly believe that having our primary stock listing on the NYSE will make News Corp a more attractive investment for a far larger pool of potential shareholders.

"The move to the US will give the company far greater financial flexibility with which to pursue our goals." Murdoch went on to reiterate that the move in no way diminished the company's commitment to Australia.

In April had reported that News Corp was planning to shift its incorporation to the US from Australia. 75 per cent of its revenues and profits are from US based businesses like Fox and now Directv.

"A year ago I stood before you and, perhaps a little boldly predicted that we could average annual earnings growth of 20 per cent in the coming years. Today, I am happy to be able to say: so far, so good. in fiscal 2004 we have delivered revenues of $21 billion - up 20 per cent - and operating income of $3.1 billion, up 21 per cent. Both these numbers are records for the company.

"In the filmed entertainment segment, we have achieved something few expected: another record year of operating income. Operating income reached $886 million, besting last year's number by 38 per cent. It has been a combination of smart film-making, better risk management, a focus on profitability over market share and an exploding home entertainment market that generated our success" Myrdoch added.

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