News Corp. donations anger investors

The News Corporation headquarters in New York City.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: British investors are protesting political donations in the U.S. by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Those investors object to payments that will help Republican candidates in the mid-term elections.

From London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: A British asset manager, F&C, is mounting the protest at the Murdoch company's annual meeting tomorrow. F&C will vote against the chairman of the company's audit committee. The Brits are complaining about two of the company's political contributions: a million dollars to the the Republican Governor's Association and another million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is spending money to defeat Democratic candidates. The Brits says this is an inappropriate use of shareholders money.

Tom Powdrill of British corporate governance group PIRC agrees.

TOM POWDRILL: If directors want to make donations to political causes, they should do that with their own money. But we don't consider it is a legitimate use of shareholders' funds.

In Britain -- unlike in the U.S. -- listed companies are required by law to seek shareholder approval for direct political donations. Murdoch's company has defended the payments saying, "We donate to groups with a pro-business agenda."

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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