Murdoch withdraws plan for supershares

SYDNEY — News Corp. Ltd. has withdrawn its controversial proposal to issue shares with increased voting rights, chairman/chief executive Rupert Murdoch said.

In a statement issued from London, Murdoch said the plan to issue the new class of shares emphasized the necessity of prompt approval by the Australian Stock Exchange.

It would have given voting power equivalent to 10 ordinary shares.

“As a consequence of the recent discussions between the attorney general of Australia and the chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange, it has become apparent that definitive action with respect to the News Corp. super-voting-share proposal will not occur for many months,” he said.

“News Corp. has this date formally advised the exchange of this decision,” Murdoch said.

He said the proposal to issue the supershares, announced at News Corp.’s annual meeting in Adelaide in October, was made to facilitate the negotiation of strategic alliances with other companies.

At the time, Murdoch spoke of the alliances with groups such as phone companies being used to develop high-tech information superhighways.

But institutions and commentators saw the plan as a way of entrenching Murdoch family control over the group.

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