News Corp Investors Brush Off Murdoch Woes
Shares in News Corporation have continued to perform strongly despite the flurry of bad press surrounding its owner Rupert Murdoch and UK newspaper arm News International.
The media tycoon is also facing calls from an influential UK shareholder group to step down as chairman from the US company because of ongoing newspaper phone-hacking revelations.
As the 81-year-old gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, shares in News Corp stood at around $19 (£12) - 50% higher than two years ago, before any allegations of phone hacking came to light.
Shares in the company took a dive last summer when the phone-hacking scandal first emerged but the latest scrutiny has not had the same effect.
Alex de Groote, media analyst for Panmure Gordon, told Sky News that the share price was performing satisfactorily, with investors remaining sanguine.
He said: "Investors have long since moved to discount the bad news coming out of the UK."
With UK newspapers only representing around 2% of News Corp's group profits, he added: "We tend to view things domestically rather than taking in the international picture.
"The newspaper assets we are fond of them, they are dear to our hearts, but they mean precious little to investors internationally."
Mr de Groote added that he did not expect News Corp to continue its ownership of News International, which publishes The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and Sun On Sunday, in the long term, but this was more to with media consumption moving towards the internet than anything else.
News Corp will release its next set of financial results on May 9, but its last statement in February showed strong growth in its cable networks and broadcast television stations has so far offset nearly $200m (£124m) in costs related to the phone hacking investigation and closure of News Of The World.
In the final quarter of 2011, the company posted a 65% increase in net income, taking it to $1.06bn (£658m), compared to $642m (£399m) a year earlier.
Since then, there have been more pay-outs to victims of phone hacking and Mr Murdoch has launched the new Sun On Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Local Authority Pension Fund has filed a motion with the US investors Christian Brothers Investment Services demanding Mr Murdoch is replaced at News Corp by an independent chair.
The group of British shareholders, whose members control £100bn of investments, said it would help address the "lax ethical culture and lack of effective board oversight" exposed by News Corp's "still emerging scandals", according to The Daily Telegraph.
On his first day of evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, Mr Murdoch was quizzed about his influence over UK politicians and News Corp's bid to take over BSkyB.