News Corp settles phone-hacking claim

Rupert Murdoch
Image caption Rupert Murdoch's News Corp said the plaintiffs played a "meaningful role" in improving corporate governance

News Corp has reached a $139m (£91m) settlement with shareholders over complaints filed against the company's board of directors.

The 2011 suit related to the company's UK phone-hacking scandal and the purchase of a UK TV production firm.

The money will be covered by the insurance policies of the directors, who are the defendants in the suits.

News Corp said it "acknowledges the meaningful role the plaintiffs" played in improving corporate governance.

The company agreed to adopt enhanced measures as part of the derivative settlement. In a derivative suit, shareholders, acting on behalf of the company, sue against executives to rectify a wrong in a firm.

"We are pleased to have resolved this matter," News Corp said in a statement.

"The agreement reflects the important steps News Corporation has taken over the last year to strengthen our corporate governance and compliance structure and we have committed to building on those efforts going forward."

'No effective oversight'

Trustees of Amalgamated Bank of New York and the Central Laborers Pension Fund, which are both News Corp shareholders, first filed a lawsuit in March 2011.

It was directed against News Corp's directors for overpaying when the company bought Shine Group, a UK TV production company, from News Corp's chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth.

They claimed that the takeover deal was "unfairly" priced and that the News Corp board of directors failed to challenge Mr Murdoch about the terms of the transaction.

The pair then expanded their lawsuit in July 2011, to accuse the board of providing "no effective review or oversight" and permitting a "culture run amok" at the News of the World, which News Corp owned. The extent of phone hacking at the tabloid, then owned by News Corp, led to its closure in 2011.

"We are proud of this historic settlement, which continues the 20 year history of Amalgamated Bank encouraging corporate reform and improved corporate governance," Amalgamated Bank president and chief executive Edward Grebow said in a statement.

News Corp is expected to start a new life as a publishing company when it splits from its TV and film interests in June this year.

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