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Murdoch becomes major shareholder in Swiss MCH group

Investor Erhard Lee has been one of the main critics of the new business strategy, but he was outvoted at the shareholder meeting. Keystone / Georgios Kefalas

James Murdoch, the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, has been elected to the board of directors of the leading Swiss exhibitions group, MCH.

His investment firm, Lupa Systems, is to hold up to 49% of the shares of the group that organises the Art Basel and the Baselworld watch and jewellery fairs. The MCH Group is expecting a 50% drop in sales for the current year.

An extraordinary shareholder meeting also confirmed two other new members of the board as well as two capital increases for a total of up to CHF104.5 million ($114.3 million), according to a company statement published on Monday.

“The shareholders have expressed their support for both the package of measures to manage the corona crisis and the strategic realignment,” MCH Group CEO Bernd Stadlwieser is quoted as saying.

He also called on the group of shareholders – which had opposed the plans – to cooperate with the management and board of the MCH Group.

The company stages several hundred events annually, mostly in the Swiss cities of Basel and Zurich. It also hosts around 30 live platforms, including in the United States and in Asia, according to its business profile.

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