Murdoch sold 418,631 shares on Nov. 20 for $23.87 to $24.01 each for a total of more than $10 million, according to a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The sale was for estate-planning purposes, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation who asked not to be named because the matter is sensitive.
Murdoch still holds the company’s largest voting stake, with 40 percent of Class B (NWS) shares. That control makes it difficult to enact board changes that differ from his wishes. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a friend of the Murdoch family, owns an additional 7 percent of voting shares.
Some investors criticized that dual-class structure at the company’s annual meeting last month. The company is still seeking to move past a hacking scandal that erupted at the company’s U.K. newspapers last year. Rebekah Brooks, who was head of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, was charged in a bribery probe related to the company’s newspapers, police said yesterday.
News Corp.’s Class A shares fell less than 1 percent to $23.82 at the close in New York before the filing was posted. The shares have risen 34 percent this year.
Julie Henderson, a spokeswoman for News Corp., declined to comment on Murdoch’s selling of shares.
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