News Corp. (Nasdaq:NWSA) shareholders voted overwhelmingly to greenlight measures to split the media giant in two, carving out a publishing business under the same name and an entertainment company called 21st Century Fox.
Both companies will be traded publicly and current News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch will serve as chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox and executive chairman of the new News Corp. The separation is slated to take place on June 28, Murdoch said at a special meeting of shareholders in New York on Tuesday.
“We are pleased that the proposals have been approved by an overwhelming majority of the outstanding shares, and that our shareholders clearly recognize the anticipated benefits of the separation,” Murdoch said in a statement. “We are on track to complete the separation on June 28 and look forward to launching two new industry leaders.”
The company's board of directors approved the split late last month.
21st Century Fox, a spin off News Corp.’s longtime 20th Century Fox studios, will be comprised of the corporation’s television networks, production houses and movie studio divisions. The publishing arm, which includes the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, the New York Post, the Dow Jones newswire and book publisher HarperCollins, will remain under the News Corp. banner.
Murdoch opened the polls for 15 minutes of voting at 10:06 a.m. in New York. While most shareholders mailed their ballots in, about a dozen attended the session, the Los Angeles Times reported.
News Corp. plans to release the vote tallies later on Tuesday in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which will be published on the company’s investor relations site and on the SEC’s website.
The split unfetters Murdoch’s lucrative entertainment holdings from their ailing publishing sister brands.
In 2011, the newspapers earned just $864 million of News Corp.’s $4.85 billion income, but packaged in a smaller company, the publishers will become nimbler at a time when the Internet has so dramatically disrupted its traditional business models.