Church of England sells £1.9m shares in News Corp

The Church of England has sold its shares in News Corp over fears the company lacks commitment to reforming its corporate governance in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

The CoE said it was divesting its £1.9m shareholding, which equates to just 0.005% of News Corp’s total publicly-traded stock, after a year of dialogue between the company and the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG).

The Church said it had first raised concerns with the board of News Corp after the Milly Dowler phone-hacking allegations emerged in July 2011.

Today it said it was ‘not satisfied that News Corporation had shown, or is likely in the immediate future to show, a commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform”.

Andrew Brown, secretary of the Church Commissioners, said: ‘Last year’s phone hacking allegations raised some serious concerns amongst the Church’s investing bodies about our holding in News Corporation.

‘Our decision to disinvest was not one taken lightly and follows a year of continuous dialogue with the company, during which the EIAG put forward a number of recommendations around how corporate governance structures at News Corporation could be improved.

‘However the EIAG does not feel that the company has brought about sufficient change and we have accepted its advice to disinvest.”

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