News Corp: Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Dumps Huge Stake

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Kingdom Holding cuts its stake in News Corp Class B shares to 1% from 6.6%

Kingdom Holding Company, the investment firm headed by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud significantly reduced its stake in News Corp.

Kingdom Holding Company sold $188 million worth of Class B shares of News Corp through an orderly disposal program during the first half of 2014.

According to the investment firm, its ownership in the Class B shares of New Corp dropped to 2 million shares or 1%. Kingdom Holding Company previously owned 6.6% or 13,184,477 Class B shares of the media company.

News Corp phone hacking controversy

Rupert Murdoch is the founder and executive chairman of News Corp. Prince Alwaleed strongly supported Murdoch amid the phone-hacking controversy in 2011, which prompted the media company to cancel its plan to take over the rest of Sky Plc.

News Corp recently stated that it will not face any charges in the United States in connection with the phone hacking controversy.

In a regulatory filing, the company said, “News Corporation was notified by the United States Department of Justice that it has completed its investigation of voicemail interception and payments to public officials in London and is declining to prosecute the company or 21st Century Fox.”

Kingdom Holding reduces stockholding after portfolio review

Kingdom Holding Company made its decision to reduce its stockholding in News Corp after reviewing its portfolio.

In a statement, Prince Alwaleed said, “The reduction of KHC’s holding in NewsCorp has been decided in the context of a general portfolio review. We remain firm believers in NewsCorp’s competent management, led by CEO Robert Thomson, and are fully supportive of Rupert Murdoch and his family.”

On the other hand, Kindom Holding Company CFO Mohammed Fahmy emphasized that the investment firm is reviewing its portfolio of private and publicly-listed companies on a regular basis. According to him, “Decisions to add, hold, dispose of or reduce particular investments are always considered in the context of the overall portfolio allocation.”

Kingdom Holding maintains investment in Twenty-First Century Fox

Kingdom Holding Company maintained 6.6% stake in Twenty-First Century Fox. Its investment in the company is worth approximately $1.7 billion.

Prince Alwaleed emphasized that his firm’s investment in Twenty-First Century Fox shows a “solid foundation” for its long standing relationship with Murdoch, which he expects to endure. Murdoch also serves as chairman and CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox.

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