News Corp Shares Jump After Report Activist Investor Is Looking to Make Changes

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Key Takeaways

  • Activist investor Starboard Value has reportedly added to its stake in News Corp, and is targeting changes to Rupert Murdoch’s media company.
  • Starboard is said to want News Corp to sell off its digital real estate assets and change its dual-class stock structure.
  • The reports came less than a month after Rupert Murdoch announced he was stepping down as chair of both News Corp and Fox.

Shares of News Corp (NWSA) gained in early trading on Monday following reports activist investor Starboard Value has added to its stake in Rupert Murdoch’s media company and is looking to make strategic and governance changes.

Reports indicated that Starboard suggested the shares of the owner of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones & Company are undervalued. It’s said to be recommending spinning off News Corp’s digital real estate businesses, including Realtor.com, and end the firm’s dual-class stock structure. That division has given Murdoch and his family voting rights that Starboard believes exceed their economic ownership. The family trust controls 39% of the voting shares. 

It was reported back in January that News Corp was trying to sell Move, which operates Realty.com and other real estate sites, to Apartments.com owner CoStar (CSGP) for $3 billion, but the talks fell through.

The Starboard move comes less than a month after News Corp and Fox (FOXA) founder Rupert Murdoch announced he was stepping down as chair of both companies in November. He’s being replaced by his eldest son and News Corp co-chair, Lachlan Murdoch, who will become the sole chair. Lachlan will remain as executive chair and CEO of Fox. 

News Corp shares hit their highest level in a year and a half following the news. Shares were 3% higher as of 11 a.m. ET on Monday, and up 17.7% year-to-date.

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