News Corp: "Even the Office Cat Knew"
Board: Macro Economics
Until convincing evidence that higher ups at News Corp (much less) Rupert Murdoch knew of these acts were occurring and failed to stop them the attacks on Rupert Murdoch are just publicity stunts orchestrated by Murdoch's rivals.
News Corp paid $125,000,000 (that's correct, $125 million) to Insignia Systems for antitrust violations and anti-competitive practices. I am fairly certain Mr. Murdoch would have somehow heard of that particular problem.
They then were judged (court finding) to be liable for $300,000,000 in penalties to Valassis Systems on similar grounds, but Valassis dropped the suit after the finding because News Corp offered to pay $500,000,000 (yes, that's half a billion dollars if the suit disappeared and for consideration of "future ventures". Half a billion; I'm pretty sure Rupert would have heard something about that one, too.
Then there was the Floorgraphics suit, in which one of Rupert's advertising competitors swiftly lost its three largest accounts (national supermarket chains) and the reason was the hacking of Floorgraphics phones, traced back to an I.P. address at News Corp. That settlement, a mere $30 million, but even at that level I'll bet some Murdoch somewhere was informed about it.
How informed were they? The fellow who ran the division that suffered these suits was summarily dismissed, and...oh wait, he was promoted and now is Publisher of the New York Post, while he retains the leadership role in the advertising division. That's how the Murdoch's run their businesses.
You really think they didn't hear about "hacking"? One of the workers in the trenches at News of the World said, as his job was evaporating before his eyes, "Of course they knew. Everybody knew. The office cat knew."
Which brings us to...payoffs and hush money. James Murdoch personally approved a payment of 700,000£ to Gordon Taylor, a soccer union boss whose phones were hacked. The settlement required "non-disclosure", but as these things have come up in legal proceedings, oops, it's "disclosure time."
Max Clifford is a celebrity publicist in Britain, and a pretty big one. The Murdoch's paid him 1,000,000£ to his invasion of privacy, as they admitted (and obviously knew) that reporters from Murdoch papers were hacking Clifford's phones too.
We know that the newspapers hired private detectives, and that there were slush funds amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars for whatever purposes TPTB thought likely to come up with more dirt. You think that mere reporters get to decide how to disperse hundreds of thousands of dollars any way they like? We know they repeatedly wined and dined the bigwigs at Scotland Yard, the top two officials there have resigned because of it.
For the record, shareholders have been just about last in the Murdoch train. News Corp, two weeks ago, stood below its price a decade ago, while Murdoch has gone on expensive binges buying (and overpaying) for newspapers, television channels, and the like. He has amassed great power and wealth for himself and his family, but his shareholders have done rather poorly.
After this is all over, shareholders are likely to be poorer yet, at least for a while. News Corp has a great collection of assets, but it will take a new management team to turn them into a company with a stock that people want to buy again.