Kingdom Holding Co. won’t sell its stake in News Corp. after the media company shut a newspaper amid phone-hacking claims.
“My confidence in News Corp., in Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch is unshaken completely,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud said in a telephone interview today. “We will sell nothing. We are standing by our friends.”
Kingdom holds a 7 percent stake in News Corp., making the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based company the second-largest shareholder after the Murdoch family. News Corp. shares have declined about 10 percent since the decision to close the News of the World was announced on July 7.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. published the final issue of the 168-year-old Sunday tabloid on July 10, after allegations that its journalists listened to voice mails of murder victims and their families and paid police officers for stories.
“In a media empire like this, which is in five continents of the world, inevitably you will have sometimes issues and problems,” Alwaleed said. “This problem is really at the level of News of the World newspaper only. We can’t have this be contagious and affect all the empire. The reputation was affected, but it was not affected irreparably.”
The prince’s backing was reported earlier today by Reuters. Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with New York-based News Corp. units in providing financial news and information.