As the 86-year old Rupert Murdoch slowly hands over the reins at the family firms, 21st Century Fox and News Corp, your columnist started wondering what provisions have been made to prepare for his eventual exit.
And the News Corp annual report, released on Wednesday, revealed that an exit package has been prepared for every scenario – including “termination by company for cause”.
He will receive $US5,409,492, in case you were wondering.
Not that the News Corp executive chairman – who controls 38 per cent of the voting stock – has to worry too much about that prospect. But he is the only News Corp executive who would receive a payment under these circumstances, or if he terminates his own employment with the company “without good reason”.
But the real money bags will be News Corp CEO, Robert Thomson. He will receive $US19,160,747 if the company terminates his employment “without cause”, or if he terminates his employment “with good reason”.
Not that either gentleman has any cause for concern over the compensation being offered for their current employment.
Rupert’s remuneration topped $US5.68 million last year, up from $US5,344,000 in 2016.
Thomson’s remuneration topped $US13.58 million, a $US2.2 million increase on 2016, which he celebrated with another colourful bash at the evil duopoly of Google and Facebook in his report to investors.
“No review of fiscal 2017 would be complete without noting the global impact of our principled stand on intellectual property and the responsibility of the digital duopoly to recognise the provenance of premium content and prevent the proliferation of false news and vile extremist propaganda.”
Lachlan Murdoch misses all of the fun on the pay front, he is merely co-chairman of News Corp, but the related party transactions between News and Lachlan’s private media interests adds some fun reading to the annual report.
News Corp’s local operations purchased $US850,000 worth of advertising from Lachlan’s radio empire, Nova Entertainment Group, last year. All on an “arm’s length, ordinary course basis” of course.
While Nova returned the favour with the purchase of $US650,000 worth of advertising from different News Corp entities.
It is early in the current financial year, so let’s not read too much into the fact that “pursuant to existing arrangements” News Corp is expected to purchase $US150,000 worth of ads from Nova which has signed up for $US500,000 worth of ads from News.
There is also some interesting detail on the Scaleup Media Fund – which links News Corp and Fox Sports Australia with Lachlan’s radio group, Nova, and his former plaything Network Ten. The fund is designed to turbocharge digital startups by using the advertising reach of the four media entities to grow these digital darlings in return for a stake in the business.
According to the annual report, News Corp contributed $US160,000 to Scaleup for a 40 per cent stake, while Fox Sports, Ten and Nova each contributed $US80,000 for 20 per cent stakes each.
“For each of 2017, 2018, and 2019, News Corp Australia is to contribute approximately $US1,500,000 and each of the other shareholders is to contribute about $US750,000 in advertising space to Scaleup.”
Nothing like an HRH on an invitation to get the big end of town out for dinner.
So it was last week when the HRH spare heir, Prince Andrew (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) Windsor, the Duke of York, was in the country to launch a program to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas at Macquarie University’s Incubator. It is a space designed to nurture, equip and accommodate budding entrepreneurs as they grow a business idea or social venture into a successful start-up.
The Duke was on site for a dual purpose, also hosting the inaugural Pitch@Palace Australia event.
Following that, he attended a dinner at the Australian Club in Sydney’s Macquarie Street organised by his former sister-in-law, Jane Ferguson.
Among those spotted enjoying some good Aussie surf-n-turf – washed down by a red – was veteran investor Charles Curran, Bell Potter’s Les Owen, Westpac’s George Frazis, former not-so-wonderboy pollie and now CEO of Afiniti Australia, Wyatt Roy, and Bennelong Asset Management’s Paul Henry.
Ferguson’s partner, the businessman Ramin Marzbani, was also in attendance.
It was a busy time for the Royal who also attended the Sydney Cricket Ground for the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation Annual Spring reception, and saw the sights of Wollongong via a boot camp.