Phone Hacking Scandal: Church of England Sells News Corp. Stake

5:12 AM PST 08/07/2012 by Georg Szalai
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The church says it has seen no real "commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform" from Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate.

LONDON - The Church of England said Tuesday it has sold its shares in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., citing a lack of governance changes since the phone hacking scandal reignited last summer.

The total stake held by the church was sold for £1.9 million ($3 million), it said. "As a result, none of the three national investing bodies of the Church of England hold shares in the company," it emphasized in a statement.

The church said it used the advice of its Ethical Investment Advisory Group after first raising concerns with the board of News Corp. in the aftermath of the phone hacking allegations surfaced in July 2011. "After a year of dialog between the company and the EIAG, the Church of England was not satisfied that News Corporation had shown, or is likely in the immediate future to show, a commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform," the church said.

Andrew Brown, secretary of the Church Commissioners, said: "Last year's phone hacking allegations raised some serious concerns amongst the Church's investing bodies about our holding in News Corporation. Our decision to disinvest was not one taken lightly and follows a year of continuous dialog with the company."

The church had recommended some corporate governance structure changes "However the EIAG does not feel that the company has brought about sufficient change and we have accepted its advice to disinvest," it said.

A News Corp. spokeswoman declined to comment.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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