Bloomberg News

TCI Led Hedge Funds Buying News Corp. Stock During Scandal

November 15, 2011

(Updates to add Lone Pine stake in fifth paragraph.)

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Children’s Investment Fund Management UK LLP, Eton Park Capital Management LP and Paulson & Co. were among hedge funds that invested in News Corp. last quarter as a phone-hacking scandal drove down the media company’s shares.

Christopher Cooper-Hohn’s TCI bought 53.8 million shares of News Corp. valued at $833.5 million during the three months ended Sept. 30, according to a filing yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Eric Mindich’s Eton Park purchased 25.9 million shares valued at $400.9 million, while Paulson bought 14.7 million shares of the firm’s Class B stock, according to separate SEC filings.

News Corp. closed its News of the World tabloid following the July revelation that the newspaper had intercepted the voicemail of a murdered U.K. schoolgirl, and also withdrew a bid to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc. At least 17 people have been arrested by police investigating hacking and bribing police officers at News Corp.’s U.K. papers, some on the basis of evidence supplied by the company.

Shares of Rupert Murdoch’s media firm slipped 13 percent in the third quarter and are down 17 percent this year. The stock rose 15 cents to $17.23 at 12:12 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading today.

Elliott, Lone Pine

Elliott Management Corp., the hedge fund founded by Paul Singer, bought almost 9 million Class B shares worth $140.3 million in the third quarter, according to an SEC filing. Lone Pine Capital LLC increased its stake in News Corp. by 21.8 million shares to 26.5 million shares, and Maverick Capital Management LP now owns 10.4 million shares after buying 2.5 million shares in the third quarter.

TCI, which Cooper-Hohn started in 2003, earmarks a portion of its fees for the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, a charity run by the investor’s wife, Jamie. A call to London- based TCI today wasn’t immediately returned.

Cooper-Hohn’s hedge fund cut its stake in Walt Disney Co., selling 1.7 million shares in the third quarter. The Burbank, California-based company is TCI’s second-largest holding, according to the filing. The fund trimmed holdings in Viacom Inc. and sold off stakes in CBS Corp. and McDonald’s Corp.

--With assistance from Jesse Westbrook in London. Editors: Keith Campbell, Stephen Taylor.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saijel Kishan in New York at skishan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net


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