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News Corp Defeats Lawsuit Over Shine Group Acquisition Records

Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. persuaded a judge to throw out an investor lawsuit seeking information about the $675 million purchase of a U.K.-based television production company owned by Murdoch’s daughter.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge John Noble concluded that a suit filed by an Illinois-based pension fund seeking to inspect News Corp. documents about the purchase of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group Ltd. was moot since it and other shareholders had also sued the company’s directors over the deal.

Lawyers for Central Laborers Pension Fund can no longer “tender a proper purpose for pursuing efforts to inspect the books and records of News Corp.” on the acquisition, Noble ruled yesterday.

The ruling comes as New York-based News Corp. continues to be investigated and sued over claims that thousands of people’s phones were hacked by its News of the World tabloid, which was shuttered in July.

Teri Everett, a News Corp. spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on Noble’s decision to throw out the investor suit.

News Corp. officials announced in February the media company would acquire Shine Group, which supplies television content to U.K. TV companies including the British Broadcasting Corp., in an all-stock deal worth about $675 million.

Dual Suits

Amalgamated Bank, another News Corp. shareholder, and the fund sued News Corp directors in Delaware over the acquisition, claiming it was motivated by “nepotism” and designed solely to reward Murdoch’s daughter. The Laborers also filed a separate suit seeking access to records about the deal.

News Corp. asked Noble to dismiss the fund’s suit as duplicative and unnecessary. The judge agreed to the company’s request.

“The simultaneous filing of the derivative action refutes any claims of a proper purposes for” a need to inspect files over the buyout, the company argued in court papers.

Michael Barry, one of the fund’s lawyers, declined to comment yesterday on Noble’s ruling.

The case is Central Laborers Pension Fund v. News Corp, CA 6287, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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