Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. stock price rises slightly after public humiliation

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Sometimes in business, even when you lose, you win.

Media baron Rupert Murdoch suffered a public humiliation today when he retreated from attempting to take over Britain's largest satellite operator, BSkyB. This came in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal at his tabloid News of the World.

Despite the setback, his company's share price has gone up slightly.

News Corp.'s most widely traded stock is now at $16.02, which is up 4.36 percent over its closing price of $15.35 yesterday.

The 52-week high on NASDAQ is $18.35; the 52-week low is $11.91.

There have been heavy volumes over the past couple of days, with more than 136 million News Corp. shares changing hands yesterday. The previous day, nearly 90 million shares traded.

In the month of June, trading never reached the 26-million-share mark on a single day.

Meanwhile, there's another potential scandal on the horizon for News Corp. U.S. media writer Howard Kurtz has written an article in the Daily Beast about the thuggish culture at the Murdoch-owned New York Post.

Here's a snippet of what Kurtz included in his piece:

In a 2007 affidavit, [former Page Six gossip reporter Ian] Spiegelman said “accepting freebies, graft and other favors was not only condoned by the company but encouraged as a way to decrease the newspaper’s out-of-pocket expenses”¦and that News Corp. attorneys had been instructed to ”˜look the other way.’” There was a policy of “favor banking,” the affidavit said, “practiced on a much larger scale by Rupert Murdoch.” In 2001, Spiegelman said in the document, “I was ordered to kill a Page Six story about a Chinese diplomat and a strip club that would have angered the Communist regime and endangered Murdoch’s broadcasting privileges” as he was trying to get Beijing’s approval for his satellite-television service.

At the time, Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for the Post, called the allegations “a tissue of lies” and a “disgrace.”

The affidavit also said that in 1997 a local restaurant owner who was frequently mentioned in Page Six had $1,000 sent to Richard Johnson, then the gossip page’s editor. The Post confirmed this, with [editor in chief Col] Allan quoted as saying that Johnson had made “a grave mistake” and had been reprimanded.
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