BSkyB investors are set to vote Tuesday on whether to keep James Murdoch at the helm — and while reports of increased opposition have surfaced, speculation is that he’ll maintain his post as chairman. Elsewhere, James’ brother Lachlan Murdoch has denied claims he was present during crucial moments of a 1998 lunch where a News Corp-related bribery offer is alleged to have taken place.
On Thursday, British Labour Party MP Tom Watson tweeted a heads-up that U.S.-based BSkyB investors Christian Brothers Investment Services, The California State Teachers Retirement System and the Florida State Board of Administration had indicated they would vote against keeping James Murdoch as chairman. Legal and General is also said aiming to kibosh his tenure, though its position is believed to be related to the question of Murdoch’s independence from News Corp rather than anything to do with the phone-hacking scandal at News International.
The BSkyB board has said it will back Murdoch, and The Financial Times indicates that at least half of the top 15 investors will support him. According to The Telegraph, a vote against Murdoch of under 20% would be “survivable” and it’s expected that just about 10%-20% of the vote will be for his ouster at the annual general meeting Tuesday.
Meanwhile, in Australia, a former senator has spurred an investigation by alleging that Lachlan Murdoch was present at a lunch table 13 years ago when a News Corp executive offered the politician “a special relationship” in exchange for his vote against a piece of digital TV legislation. The eldest Murdoch son has called the claim “a fabrication.”