Chris Hohn, one of the City of London's most aggressive fund managers, snapped up an $834m stake in News Corp while Rupert Murdoch's company was embroiled in the phone-hacking scandal, it was revealed last night.
Mr Hohn's fund, the Children's Investment Fund, acquired almost 54 million News Corp shares in the three months to the end of September, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US. News Corp was not among the fund's list of shareholdings three months earlier.
The stakebuilding implies that Mr Hohn believes there will be no major share price hit from the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp's UK newspaper business, despite the closure of the News of the World and the launch of an FBI investigation into the company in the US. At the time when new revelations were emerging almost daily over the summer, some investors argued that the shares could even go higher, if the Murdoch family's grip on the management of the company was loosened and the company subsequently focused more on its television and film businesses than on newspapers.
Mr Hohn trimmed his fund's holdings of other media companies in order to free up money to invest in News Corp, the SEC filing shows. He reduced its stakes in Disney and Viacom, and sold out of CBS all together.