News Corp in massive stock buyback

News Corp is buying back US$5 billion (€3.6 billion) of its own stock. The media giant, which has witnessed a decline in its share price amid the ongoing phone hacking allegations surrounding a number of its UK newspaper staff, was already planning to repurchase US$1.8 billion of stock, but said last night that the total would rise to US$5 billion.

The exact timing of the buyback is not clear, but it cannot repurchase any shares until it emerges from a closed period that runs until mid-August. News has total assets of about US$60 billion and an annual turnover of about US$33 billion.

The statement about the buy-back came as the UK government said it would back opposition party calls for News Corp to drop its bid to buy the chunk of UK pay TV platform BSkyB that it did not already own. While News Corp has suffered a share price reverse in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, the BSkyB share price has been hit much harder. From a recent high of £8.50 (€9.66) the shares were trading at below £7 at the close of play yesterday.

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