News Corp shareholder T Rowe Price expressed concern about merger with Fox

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Fox News’ electronic code is seen outside the News Corporation building in New York City, New York, U.S., November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

(Reuters) – T. Rowe Price, a major shareholder in News Corp (NASDAQ:NY), said it was highly skeptical of Rupert Murdoch’s plans to reunite News Corp and Fox Corp, The New York Times reported on Friday, making them the A third investor expressed disagreement about the plan. .

T. Rowe Price told the newspaper that merging the two companies would likely undervalue News Corp, which it believes is trading for less than it’s worth.

T. Rowe Price is News Corp’s largest shareholder after the Murdoch family and owns about 17.88%, according to Refinitiv data.

The report comes after other major shareholders Independent Franchise Partners and Irenic Capital objected to Murdoch’s plan, proposed in October, to reunite the companies he spun off in 2013.

The independent franchise partner owns approximately 7% of News Corp’s Class A shares and 6.4% in Fox Corp. Active investor Irenic Capital Management holds a 2% stake in News Corp.

The newspaper quoted Vincent DeAugustino, one of the portfolio managers overseeing T. Rowe’s investment in News Corp, as saying T. Rowe Price wanted to make his concerns public with the board and public before companies make any firm proposals.

“It would be more constructive to help shape the process than to try to push back on any proposal once it has been put in place,” DeAugustino told the newspaper.

T. Rowe Price, News Corp and Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In the 2013 split, Murdoch incorporated his publishing business into the newly formed public entity News Corp and the television and entertainment business under 21st Century Fox.

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