Jim Breyer joins tangled web of News Corp.

By Laurie Bennett

October 30, 2011 at 2:17pm

You have to wonder why anyone would want to join the News Corp. board.

Venture capitalist Jim Breyer clearly embraces challenge.

Breyer, managing partner of Accel Partners, became a director last week, as Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and his two sons were re-elected.

Jim Breyer
Jim Breyer

The fix was in for the Murdochs, who control about 38 percent of the voting stock. Nevertheless, more than a third of the stockholders opposed re-election of James and Lachlan Murdoch.

Breyer received the highest number of affirmative votes of anyone on the ballot.

Given the scandals and lawsuits that have occurred under the old leadership, he no doubt gained support by being the only new face.

But Breyer also brings extensive board room experience. He’s a director of Wal-Mart, Dell and Facebook. He also sat on the board of Marvel Entertainment until its acquisition by Disney.

Despite his overwhelming approval at the annual meeting, not everyone was happy about his nomination.

CtW Investment Group, which says it is affiliated with union pension funds, questioned Breyer’s independence and called for more information about his relationships to the company and its top execs.

They noted that Accel Partners was an investor in MySpace China, which employed Rupert Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng. News Corp. sold MySpace this year at a loss of $545 million.

Meyer and Deng were also reported to have invested in, an art discovery site patterned after Pandora.

Breaking the long-established pattern of entanglements among the Murdoch family, News Corp. and its board will undoubtedly require more than one new board member, particularly if he brings new connections to the mix.

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