Despite Scandal, Analyst Says Rupert Murdoch Will Control News Corp Destiny


"I think someone is going to have to be sacrificed. Does it have to Rupert Murdoch? Not necessarily. The company can and will exist in whatever role Rupert Murdoch has in the company," Polley said. "People involved in [News of the World] are gone."

A former News Corp. executive told ABC News that News America has paid "significantly over" $655 million since 2009 to settle cases in the United States over corporate espionage (i.e. hacking) as well as anticompetitive, antitrust behavior and disparagement of competitors' claims, as reported in the New York Times.

According to the News Corp. executive, the company paid $29.5 million to Floorgraphics in New Jersey; a $500 million settlement and a 10-year business deal to Valassis in Michigan; and a $125 million settlement to Insignia in Minnesota, including a 10-year business deal.

Investors File Suit Against News Corp.

In the United States, the phone hacking scandal and purchase of Shine Group Ltd has angered investors such as Amalgamated Bank and the Central Laborers Pension Fund, which filed a lawsuit in March alleging an "unlawful plan and scheme of Rupert Murdoch ... to use £415 million ($675 million) of News Corp's cash to buy Shine Group Ltd. ("Shine"), the television and film production company run and majority-owned by his daughter Elisabeth Murdoch."

The March suit alleges the business transaction was an attempt to bring Elisabeth Murdoch into the family business.

"Once the prodigal daughter is back into the News Corp fold, she will vie with her brothers, board members James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, for the position of successor to Rupert Murdoch's global media dynasty. In short, Murdoch is causing News Corp to pay $675 million for nepotism," the suit claims.

In an amended lawsuit filed July 8, shareholders accuse Murdoch of funding his own pet projects at the expense of the company. The lawsuit claims the board of directors at News Corp failed to properly investigate the now former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, who was arrested over the weekend in connection to the phone hacking scandal.

"The most recently revealed manifestation of the board's utter capitulation to the control and domination of Murdoch is their complete failure to oversee the news gathering practices carried out under the watch of Murdoch's close friends, confidantes, and staunch supporters, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both of whom served as the chief editors of News Of The World, News Corp's premier UK newspaper," the lawsuit alleges.

Amalgamated Bank had no comment.

"News Corp. suffers from the same problem as many old news companies, which is how do you monetize your content," Polley said. "The big problem News Corp. has and continues to have is what on earth is he [Rupert] trying to do."

The Future of News Corp.

"Another BSY [British Sky Broadcasting] attempt could come later. It would be possible for a newspaper group spinout to the family to be a large potential positive," Joyce said, referring to News Corp.'s aborted bid for the broadcaster.

"While we think today's hearings broadly represent a positive data point for NWSA, we'd also have to acknowledge that in light of potentially ongoing investigations, headline risk is still very real, in connection with the stock," David Bank, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets wrote. "It wouldn't surprise us to see more volatility in the stock over the coming weeks."

No one knows the company's strategy, said one analyst. "It's in Rupert Murdoch's head."

"You can make a case for being undervalued, but will the company ever realize its value? Possibly no," Polley said. "It has lovely franchises -- the Wall Street Journal is one. But, what is it going to do with them, what is he going to do with them? Other than wanting to control the widest swatch of media available, I don't know what his strategy is."

ABCNews' Lauren Pearle contributed to this report

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