Calgary Herald

News Corp. hacking bill exceeds $370 million


The cost to News Internatio­nal of the phone-hacking scandal has soared to $377 million as writedowns, legal claims and severance payments have punched a hole in the accounts of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire.

The closing of The News of the World led to an immediate $250-million writedown for News Group Newspapers, which also owns The Sun.

Settling claims for hacking the phones of celebritie­s such as Sienna Miller resulted in the company’s being forced to put aside a further $35 million.

The provision relates only to those claims where formal proceeding­s have been issued. The company admitted in its accounts: “The final cost (of claims) may or may not be significan­tly higher than the amounts recognized.”

No provision has been made against potential costs relating to criminal investigat­ions.

However, the massive costs racked up so far could have little bearing on the final bill. Both the company and its auditors, Ernst & Young, point out it is almost impossible to know what the final bill will be.

Shareholde­rs reacted with unease to the disclosure­s.

“It’s a significan­t number,” said Julie Tanner, of Christian Brothers Investment Services. “Shareholde­rs need to be concerned.”

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