If Nikki Finke’s info is correct — and I’ve confirmed some of it — Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe are asking for the kind of money that would put them in the top five of News Corp.’s executives in terms of compensation, just south of chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and COO Peter Chernin. The deal signed as part of the MySpace acquisition kept Anderson and DeWolfe in the News Corp. for two years. That time period ends this October and the two are in discussions with News Corp. over what it would take to keep them around. Finke puts their current two-year proposal — which she describes as “fanciful” — at $50 million — $12.5 million each per year. They also want a $15 million fund of their own to invest in internet startups. News Corp.’s counter offer, says Finke, is $15 million each over two years, which, as she notes, would put them close to Roger Ailes (currently number 4 on the list) at $8-plus million salary and bonus; he also got $7-plus million in restricted stock awards last year and $124,00 for a car and driver. They each received about $10 million from the sale of MySpace parent eUniverse to Fox Interactive media.
Whoever is talking to Finke wants to send the clearest of messages: take the offer and realize even that amount is going to yank the chains of the senior execs currently making far much more money for the company — and far less for themselves.
One item I’ve confirmed: As Finke reports, Anderson and DeWolfe already differ from other execs in one aspect — they each have equity in a News Corp. JV, MySpace China.