Saudi Prince Alwaleed: News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal Hurts Company's Reputation

12:04 PM PST 05/08/2012 by Georg Szalai

The second-largest shareholder and close ally of Rupert Murdoch emphasizes though that his support for the mogul is "definitely unwavering."

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the second-largest shareholder in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., hopes that the conglomerate can put the phone hacking scandal that it has been embroiled in behind it, arguing that it is hurting the company's reputation.

The close ally of chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, who owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp. and large stakes in such companies as Apple,  said the company is "very diversified," but the scandal still has the potential to hurt the reputation of other businesses, the Guardian quoted Alwaleed as saying on BBC program Newsnight.

"I really hope that this is behind us, because really it is not helping the name of the company,"  Alwaleed said. "We hope that this page is folded and put behind us because really it is not something to be proud of."

He emphasized his continuing support for the media mogul behind News Corp. though. "We have a strategic alliance with Rupert Murdoch for sure, and I have been with him for the last 15 or 20 years," he said. "My backing of Rupert Murdoch is definitely unwavering."

He also said that the stock of News Corp. has bounced back and that the conglomerate's financial results have not suffered. The company is set to report its latest quarterly financials late on Wednesday.

Alwaleed said the performance should come into focus once the company puts the scandal behind it. "I believe that once this page is flipped over, News Corp can withstand the heat of what is happening there," he said.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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