Opposition to Murdoch re-election grows

Legal and General, part owner of BskyB, is poised to vote against James Murdoch's run for chairman.

Opposition to James Murdoch's re-election as chairman of BskyB is growing as Legal and General, the top 10 investor, joined a group of shareowners thought to vote against him at the company's annual meeting on Tuesday.

Murdoch's chairmanship was last year supported by L&G, which holds 2.9 per cent of the company, but it changed its stance on his suitability for the role following News Corporation's failed attempt at acquiring the 60 per cent of BskyB it still does not own.

News Corporation's efforts to take over the whole of BskyB were hindered by the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World.

It is believed that a vote above 20 per cent could be damaging to Murdoch. Besides L&G, other investors expected to vote against include British Airways Pensions Investment, Franklin Templeton, Aviva, and the Co-operative Asset Management.

Investors such as Scottish Widows, Capital Research Global and Odey Asset Management are said to remain supportive. Murdoch also has the full backing of the board, which wrote to investors earlier this month. News Corporation's 39 per cent stake will likely limit the protest vote.