Phone hacking: Questions over BSkyB deal as investors feel brunt of scandal

8th July 2011

Fears over deal for BSkyB wiped £600m off its value, the Guardian reported, adding that jitters on Wall Street also hit News Corp share price.

It says investors in companies controlled by Rupert Murdoch have been dumping the shares amid fears over the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal which prompted The News of the World's parent company News International to close the publication.

Shares in broadcaster BSkyB fell 5% in the last week, wiping £666m off the value of the business.

Investors are likely to face more uncertainty, as the BBC News website reported, a deluge of last-minute submissions on News Corporation's proposed bid for BSkyB will push back any final decision on the deal until September.

It says: "Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has received tens of thousands of comments on the deal following the controversy over the phone hacking affair.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, but the flurry of late entries, over 200,000 will take several weeks to assess.

Mr Hunt had previously gone on record as saying he would approve the takeover, subject to News Corp spinning off Sky News.

Many hedge funds which had bought into BSkyB in the hope of making a quick profit from the bid have been selling the shares on fears that the deal now faces substantial delay.

The impact of the scandal is far-reaching as BSkyB shares can be found in virtually all UK pension funds.

Louise Rouse, director of engagement at FairPensions, a charity that promotes responsible investment by fund managers, said: "Pension investors should seriously consider whether the takeover of BSkyB by News Corp is in the long-term interests of their beneficiaries. We believe these interests extend beyond the price paid for BSkyB shares to include broader social issues like media plurality in this country."

Read more:

Guardian losses cast doubt on future of printed newspapers.

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