News Corp. Settles With U.K. Designer Hoppen in Phone-Hacking Lawsuit

News Corp. (NWSA) agreed to pay designer Kelly Hoppen 60,000 pounds ($93,100) to drop her lawsuit against its now-shuttered News of the World tabloid for hacking into her mobile-phone messages.

Hoppen, a target for journalists because of her friendships with film director Guy Ritchie and soccer player Sol Campbell, feels “fully vindicated in respect of her claim,” according to court papers. New York-based News Corp. also apologized and promised to pay her legal costs.

Hoppen was one of the lead claimants in a test case scheduled to be heard in January, when a London judge is to rule on a fair level of damages for phone-hacking victims. She will be replaced in the trial by soccer player Ashley Cole, lawyer Hugh Tomlinson said at a London court hearing today regarding the test cases.

News Corp. has agreed to pay more than 4 million pounds in at least six settlements with celebrities and crime victims -- including Sienna Miller, Andy Gray, Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford -- who were the subjects of News of the World stories. The family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was offered 2 million pounds plus a 1 million-pound donation to charity in September, in the largest settlement to date, according to a person familiar with the case.

The company was forced to close the News of the World in July and drop its 7.8 billion-pound bid for full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY) following revelations journalists and investigators had attempted to hack into Dowler’s phone after she went missing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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