By Cara Lombardo
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (April 28, 2018).
An activist investor has stepped down from 21st Century Fox Inc.'s board of directors, the company said Friday, as it remains at the center of a global takeover battle.
Jeffrey Ubben, founder and chief executive of investment fund ValueAct Capital Management LP, resigned from the board Thursday, the company said in a securities filing. He joined in 2015 as part of an agreement with the company and a bet Fox would navigate changing media demands and combat streaming services.
Mr. Ubben has stepped back as chief investment picker for ValueAct to launch a new project for the firm focused on environmental and social investing. He is expected to make several new investments and likely join some of those boards.
21st Century Fox didn't provide a reason for Mr. Ubben's resignation, but noted in the filing it wasn't due to any disagreement or matter relating to the company's operations or policies. Mr. Ubben said in a statement he supports Fox's agreement to sell its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co. for $52.4 billion.
The board will be reduced to 12 directors from 13 as result of Mr. Ubben's departure, the filing said.
Mr. Ubben's departure comes after The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that London-based activist investor Chris Hohn has built a more than 4% position in 21st Century Fox, giving him the potential to influence a deal vote.
Fox had disclosed that it rejected a higher Comcast Corp. offer for its entertainment business due to regulatory risk concerns. Now, Comcast is considering whether to urge investors to support its offer, the Journal reported this week.
Fox is also caught up in a fight for the 61% of European pay-TV operator Sky PLC that it doesn't already own. Comcast this week made a bid for Sky, too, topping Fox's offer.
21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his family have a 39% voting stake in the company. Their economic interest, which is what would count in a shareholder vote on the Disney-Fox merger, is roughly 17%. (The Murdoch family is also a major shareholder in News Corp, the parent of The Wall Street Journal.)
--David Benoit contributed to this article.
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