Saudi's Kingdom Holding sells 5.6 percent stake in News Corp

Wed Feb 4, 2015 6:22am EST
 
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By David French

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding (4280.SE: Quote), the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, sold most of its stake in media giant News Corp (NWSA.O: Quote) as part of a portfolio review, it said on Wednesday.

The sale of a 5.6 percent stake in News Corp generated 705 million riyals ($188 million) of cash for Kingdom and leaves it with a one percent holding, according to a bourse statement. The amount of profit or loss booked on the investment was not disclosed.

Kingdom has held a stake in Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate since 1997, according to its website.

It has been a turbulent few years for the media company, after it emerged in 2011 that one of its British tabloid newspapers, the now-defunct News of the World, had been hacking phones and bribing public officials.

News Corp said on Tuesday it would face no charges in the United States over the matter, although it still faces multiple investigations and court cases in Britain.

"We remain firm believers in News Corp’s competent management, led by chief executive Robert Thomson, and are fully supportive of Rupert Murdoch and his family," Alwaleed said in a separate emailed statement.

The action would not impact on Kingdom's 6.6 percent holding of Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O: Quote), the emailed statement added.

Both News Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox were part of the same company until they were spun off into separate listed entities in June 2013, representing the previous firm's publishing and broadcasting businesses respectively.   Continued...

 
Owner of Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding, billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal attends the traditional Saudi dance known as 'Arda', which was performed during Janadriya culture festival at Der'iya in Riyadh February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Fayez Nureldine/Pool