A person walks past the Fox News Headquarters in New York City on March 9, 2023 ( AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

BlackRock falsely linked to voting tech firm that sued Fox

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

Social media posts claim investment giant BlackRock has major holdings in both Fox Corp and Dominion Voting Systems, suggesting this is why the US television company fired host Tucker Carlson after it settled a defamation case with the election technology firm. This is partly false; BlackRock owns shares in the similarly named Dominion Energy -- not the voting business -- and a minority stake in the media group controlled by the Murdoch family.

"BlackRock owns millions of shares in both Dominion and FoxCorp., meaning that BlackRock sued BlackRock, therefore Tucker Carlson was vilified as a result and got the boot," says an April 26, 2023 tweet.

A similar claim on TikTok accumulated nearly 100,000 views. The video includes text saying: "BlackRock sued itself and fired Tucker Carlson as part of that lawsuit."

Screenshot of a tweet taken April 26, 2023

Similar assertions circulated on Facebook and elsewhere on Twitter.

The posts come on the heels of Carlson's ouster from Fox News days after the broadcaster agreed to a $787.5 million settlement in a defamation case. Dominion Voting Systems alleged the cable channel knowingly aired false claims about its voting machines after the 2020 US presidential election.

Fox has provided scant details on the reason for Carlson's firing, simply saying: "Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways."

But contrary to the claims online, BlackRock has no investment in Dominion Voting Systems, a privately held unit of Canada-based Dominion Voting.

"BlackRock has no ownership stake in Dominion Voting Systems, and we are not involved in the hiring and firing of employees at public companies in which our clients are invested," BlackRock said in an April 26 tweet (archived here), which a spokesperson confirmed to AFP. "Dominion Voting Systems is owned by a private equity firm that is not affiliated with BlackRock."

Dominion Voting also told AFP it has no financial ties to BlackRock.

"Dominion Voting Systems is not owned by BlackRock," a spokesperson said. "It is owned by Staple Street Capital and its employees."

Regulatory filings (archived here) show BlackRock does have a stake in Dominion Energy, a power company based in the US state of Virginia. The firm has no operations in voting technology.

BlackRock's Fox investments

Fox, part of the media empire controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family, is among numerous firms with a dual-class share structure, which allows the public to own shares without diluting the founders' control.

According to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (archived here), Murdoch owns or controls nearly 39 percent of Fox's Class B shares. Those holdings have voting power, making it difficult for any outside shareholder to influence corporate decisions without Murdoch's buy-in.

BlackRock on February 1 disclosed in a filing (archived here) a "passive investment" of some 45 million Class A shares in Fox, amounting to 15 percent of that class of stock.

A BlackRock spokesperson said the company does not comment on individual investments.

According to the Fox regulatory documents, Class A shareholders may only vote on matters related to dissolving or liquidating the company, selling or disposing of all its assets, or merging with another entity.

Queried by AFP, a Fox spokesperson pointed to regulatory filings but offered no additional comment.