News Corp Just Added 46 Lawsuits to Its U.K. Headache
News Corp.’s (NASDAQ:NWSA) lawsuit-a-day scenario in the phone hacking scandal is not slowing down after reports that the company’s newspaper unit in the U.K. is now facing 46 more civil suits. That brings the total number of both settled and unresolved cases to more than 100, a number that will likely grow even larger in the coming months.
Hugh Tomlinson, who represents a majority of the plaintiffs in the voicemail interception allegation, said there were 1,174 likely victims of the hacking by News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid. The company has settled in almost 60 cases, including those by actor Jude Law and singer Charlotte Church.
News Corp.’s newspaper unit said it had already paid 23.7 million pounds ($38 million) in legal fees and damages related to the civil lawsuits. It has also spent 55.5 million pounds on payouts and legal fees associated with the closing of the News of the World, and has written off 160 million pounds on the value of the tabloid’s publishing rights.
The civil cases are in addition to a formal investigation launched by the British government against the company in which News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and son James have also testified.
Several former News Corp. employees have been arrested on charges of hampering justice in the case, though no one has yet been charged with a crime. Journalists from the Sun, another News Corp. tabloid, have also been arrested on suspicion of bribing police and public officials. Experts say the company may also have to sell its stake in British pay-TV company BSkyB as pressures grow. British officials are preparing to release a preliminary report from the investigations soon.