updated 10/26/2004 8:55:44 AM ET 2004-10-26T12:55:44

Rupert Murdoch's plan to move his News Corp. global media empire's shares from Australia to Wall Street won overwhelming shareholder approval Tuesday at the company's annual meeting.

Proxy votes issued ahead of the meeting showed 98.2 percent of ordinary shareholders and 96.7 percent of preferred stockholders backed the proposal to shift New Corp.'s corporate base to Delaware.

Barring massive disapproval on the floor of the shareholder meeting later Tuesday, News Corp. shares are expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange next month, coinciding with the stock's removal from the Australian benchmark index.

The move by News Corp. — owner of the Fox network, Fox News Channel and the 20th Century Fox movie studio — is intended to boost the company's appeal to a wider base of investors.

Despite its many U.S. holdings, News Corp. has retained its links with its Australian heritage, continuing to hold annual general meetings in the southern city of Adelaide, where it has its registered office.

Murdoch launched his media career here more than 50 years ago when he inherited a small newspaper business from his father.

Earlier this year, Murdoch said the company's formal status as a foreign issuer in U.S. financial markets was limiting investments from several major institutional investors, some of whom have limits on how much foreign stock they can own.

In his address to the meeting, Murdoch said all of the company's operating divisions are expected to report higher earnings this fiscal year.

News Corp. accounts for up to 6 percent of the Australian stock market, with a market capitalization of about $31.4 billion.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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