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Saudis Drop Major US-based Media Mouthpiece, Sell News Corp Stake After 18 Years

With the fog of economic war clearing just enough to get a glimpse of the real narrative in the Saudi-US-Syria-Qatar-Russia-Europe chaos, we found it more than a little intriguing that, as Reuters reports, Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holdings - the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal - sold most of its stake in media giant News Corp. While stating that they "remain firm believers in News Corp’s competent management," no reason for the sale was given of the US-based media mouthpiece that has been a core holding since 1997.

 

As Reuters reports,

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding, the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, sold most of its stake in media giant News Corp as part of a portfolio review, it said on Wednesday.

 

The sale of a 5.6 percent stake in News Corp generated 705 million riyals ($188 million) of cash for Kingdom and leaves it with a one percent holding, according to a bourse statement. The amount of profit or loss booked on the investment was not disclosed.

 

Kingdom has held a stake in Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate since 1997, according to its website.

 

It has been a turbulent few years for the media company, after it emerged in 2011 that one of its British tabloid newspapers, the now-defunct News of the World, had been hacking phones and bribing public officials.

 

News Corp said on Tuesday it would face no charges in the United States over the matter, although it still faces multiple investigations and court cases in Britain.

 

"We remain firm believers in News Corp’s competent management, led by chief executive Robert Thomson, and are fully supportive of Rupert Murdoch and his family," Alwaleed said in a separate emailed statement.

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The sale of shares by Kingdom was "predominantly executed" in the first half of 2014 and finalised by the end of the year, the statement said... both as the Ukraine tension escalated and oil prices started to collapse...