ACMA Finds Lachlan Murdoch Breached Ownership Caps
January 18, 2011 at 4:22 AM (PT)
The AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY has ruled that LACHLAN MURDOCH, son of NEWS CORP. Chairman RUPERT MURDOCH, was in breach of the Broadcasting Services Act because he sat on the board of two stations whose coverage areas overlap.
MURDOCH joined the board of PRIME MEDIA GROUP, of which he owns a 9% stake, on OCTOBER 7th; PRIME owns Top 40 4MCY (HOT91)/NAMBOUR, the coverage area of which includes BRISBANE. MURDOCH previously, through his investment company ILLYRIA, bought 50% of DMG RADIO INVESTMENTS in NOVEMBER 2009, giving him a stake in Hot AC 4BFM (97.3FM) and Top 40 4BNE (NOVA 106.9)/BRISBANE. The overlapping stations were determined to be a breach of ACMA rules until MURDOCH resigned from PRIME on NOVEMBER 9th. Another director of both companies, SIOBHAN MCKENNA, was also found in breach of the rules; she resigned from ILLYRIA and DMG RADIO on NOVEMBER 10th.
In a release, ACMA said, "The ACMA has decided to take no further action in respect of these breaches, noting the particular facts of the matters (including the overlap complexities) and Mr. MURDOCH's and Ms. MCKENNA's resignations and co-operation in the matters. Following the ACMA's findings, companies in the Illyria group have advised that they have implemented revised procedures to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the radio directorship limits before new directors are appointed to their boards.
"These findings, and their disclosure, are a timely reminder to all directors and their boards to consider the directorship limits specified in the Act prior to the appointment of new board members, and to have particular regard to the rules which relate to overlapping license areas."