Church of England sells £1.9m in News Corp shares

Church of England wanted change at the top of Rupert Murdoch's News CorpThe Church of England has sold £1.9m it held in News Corporation shares after the company failed to hold senior managers to account following the phone hacking scandal.

Having raised concerns with News Corp’s board last year the Church said it feared the media group had not learnt lessons.

The Church of England had wanted News Corp to separate the positions of chairman and chief executive. Both are held by Rupert Murdoch.

The Church’s £1.9m stake accounted for 0.005% of the media group’s publicly traded stock and represented its entire holding in News Corp. The Church said that the sale took place following advice of the CoE’s ethical investment advisory group.

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 Church’s ethical investment advisory group (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.”