ValueAct's Ubben Nominated to 21st Century Fox Board

Sep 29 2015 | 1:05pm ET

ValueAct Capital’s CEO Jeffrey Ubben has been nominated for election to Twenty-First Century Fox’s board, but with a catch: the activist hedge fund must maintain a stake of at least 5% in the company. 

ValueAct owns approximately 5.9% of Fox's Class B shares, according to regulatory filings. It first disclosed the stake mid-2014 and added to it earlier this year, amassing a position worth more than $1 billion.

In addition to nominating Ubben to its board, Fox and ValueAct have also entered into a standstill agreement that prevents the activist shareholder from soliciting proxies against Fox, raising its stake above 7% or selling its stake to any person or entity that would boost the buyer's stake in Fox to more than 5%. Such cease-fire agreements have become relatively common when company boards and activist shareholders come to terms. 

ValueAct is known for taking a more muted approach to working with company management teams to affect change in their organizations. The fund prefers to exert quieter influence on boards behind the scenes, avoiding when possible the high-profile public battles and proxy contents often employed by other U.S. activist funds.

San Francisco-based ValueAct Capital was founded in 2000 by Ubben, a former Fidelity executive. The firm manages more than $18 billion and has served on the boards of 38 companies, including Microsoft, Adobe, Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Motorola.

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