Shares of billionaire Rupert Murdoch-led News Corporation tumbled by over 4 per cent in Australia on Monday as investors offloaded the company’s shares amid a deepening crisis surrounding the media conglomerate.
The stock closed at 14.16 Australian dollars, down 4.13 per cent from the previous close, on the Australian Stock Exchange. Earlier in the day, the stock fell by 7.58 per cent to its lowest level in one year, at 13.65 Australian dollars.
The stock has been under pressure ever since the group announced the closure of its British weekly, News of the World, in the wake of the tabloid and its top executives facing a probe for phone hacking and police bribery, among other charges.
News Corp’s shares have nosedived 19 per cent in Australia since the News of the World hacking scandal engulfed the group. The shares plummeted by about 11 per cent in the US market during the same period.
The selling pressure intensified in News Corp shares today after the crisis worsened with the arrest of Rebekah Brooks, the ex-CEO of News International, on Sunday on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. Later, Brooks was released on bail.
Britain’s top police officer, Paul Stephenson, also quit after the scandal broke out due to speculation about his links to Murdoch’s empire and the force’s botched investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World.
Brooks is the tenth person to be arrested so far over the scandal, which exploded earlier this month amid claims that under her watch, the News of the World hacked the mobile phone of a murdered girl, Milly Dowler.