By George Stahl
21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) has begun the process to remove its listing on the Australian Securities Exchange, which the company said was an attempt to simplify the entertainment company's operating and capital structure.
Following the listing's removal, all of 21st Century Fox's Class A and Class B stock will be listed solely on Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ).
After separating from News Corp last year, "21st Century Fox has only limited operations in Australia," said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive. "We believe that consolidating the trading of our stock in the world's largest equity market would provide improved liquidity to the company's stockholders and greater efficiencies for the company."
The company said the delisting would simplify its capital structure by reducing the number of equity pools to two Class A and Class B stocks from four. It also would consolidate trading to one exchange and reduce the company's reporting costs because it only would have to comply with one securities regulator.
In addition, 21st Century Fox sees the move leading to increased trading in the company's common stock, particularly the less actively traded Class B shares. Also, the company said, the delisting could result in a reduction of non-U.S. holders of its Class B stock. If that number falls below 25%, it would enable the company to restore full voting rights to the company's non-U.S. stockholders.
The move is subject to the approval of the company's Class B shareholders, who are expected to vote at a special meeting in March or April. If approved, the delisting from the ASX Ltd's (ASX.AU) Australian Securities Exchange would occur about a month thereafter.
Following the delisting, former Australian-listed stockholders would have the ability to continue to own the company's stock through Nasdaq.
According to 21st Century Fox, the Australian Securities Exchange has provided guidance on how to do the proposed delisting and is requiring compliance certain conditions, such as that holders of CHESS Depositary Interests be sent certain information regarding the proposed delisting.
21st Century Fox and News Corp (NWS), parent of this newswire and The Wall Street Journal, are controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Until late June, 21st Century Fox was part of the same company as News Corp.
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