News Corp. settles suit with pension funds

News Corp. has settled a shareholder lawsuit for $139 million relating to breach of fiduciary claims and corporate governance failures related to the company's phone-hacking scandal and the acquisition of Shine Group, a media company previously owned by Elisabeth Murdoch.

Co-lead plaintiffs of the suit were the $841 million Laborers, Central, Pension & Annuity Funds, Jacksonville, Ill.; the $344 million New Orleans City Employees' Retirement System and Amalgamated Bank originally filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington in March 2011.

The suit, originally charging nepotism related to the Shine Group acquisition, was amended that July to include charges related to the corporate governance failures in the News of the World newspaper phone-hacking scandal, claiming it caused losses of “hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions” in shareholder value.

As part of the settlement, News Corp. will also “build on the corporate governance enhancements” that the company has been implementing over the past year and implement “additional meaningful measures that the company and the plaintiffs crafted through their cooperative efforts,” according to a joint news release from the plaintiffs.

Jesse L. Evans Jr., director of the New Orleans Employees' Retirement System, did not return a phone call by press time, and Dan Koeppel, Central Laborers' executive director, said the pension fund does not provide comment.