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Rupert Murdoch Gives Up Annual Cash Bonus

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News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch has voluntarily forgone his entire cash bonus for fiscal 2020 following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the media company's financial results.

Thursday, News Corp. reported a net loss of $1 billion for the third quarter, reflecting a write-down in the value of its Australian Pay-TV operator Foxtel.

The parent company of the Wall Street Journal noted that as the pandemic will have a more significant impact on its fourth-quarter results, its businesses are cutting costs to ensure the company is well-equipped to operate in a decidedly different business environment after the COVID-19 crisis abates.

"There will obviously be an impact on executive compensation, and it is worth noting that bonuses are often the largest cash component for our senior executives," said News Corp. Chief Executive Robert Thomson.

Media mogul Murdoch will voluntarily forgo his entire cash bonus for fiscal 2020, while Thomson will forgo 75 percent of his annual cash bonus.

Thomson noted that the collective cuts in bonuses and other cost initiatives will have a positive impact on News Corp.'s profitability and cash position.

Other cost-cutting measures of the company include significant reductions in discretionary spending, non-essential capital expenditures and headcount, as well as transitioning certain newspaper operations to digital-only.

News Corp.'s third-quarter net loss was $1.04 billion or $1.24 per share, compared to net income of $23 million or $0.02 per share in the prior year.

The quarterly loss reflecting non-cash impairment charges of $1.1 billion, reflecting a write-down of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets at Foxtel and the reclassification of News America Marketing to assets held for sale.

Adjusted earnings for the quarter were $0.03 per share, compared to $0.04 per share in the prior year. Total revenues declined 8 percent to $2.27 billion from $2.46 billion in the prior-year period.

The lower revenues reflect a 3 percent, negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations, lower print-related advertising revenues at the News and Information Services segment, and lower subscription revenues at Foxtel.

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