Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, one of News Corporation’s biggest shareholder, is “unwavering” in his support of Rupert Murdoch, but he also admits the phone-hacking scandal has damaged the family-controlled company’s reputation.
According to the Guardian, Alwaleed, who recently saw his voting rights at the media conglomerate decrease because of an inadvertent breach of US law, said that the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp’s British division was affecting not just the publishing arm but the entire company.
The media business has holdings in television network Fox and film production company 20th Century Fox, as well as interests in almost 150 different newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, and a stake in broadcaster BSkyB.
"I really hope that this is behind us because really it is not helping the name of the company," the Guardian reports Alwakeed as saying. "We hope that this page is folded and put behind us because really it is not something to be proud of."
However, he added that, although its reputation has been tarnished, News Corp’s share price or financial results have not been affected. The company reported a 65% increase in profits during its second quarter to 31 December. Its third quarter results are due on 9 May.
He also said he believes “News Corp can withstand the heat” of the ongoing scandal – which resulted in the closure of the News of the World.
Alwaleed controls Saudi Arabian film, TV and music business Rotana Media Group, in which News Corp has a significant stake.
"We have a strategic alliance with Rupert Murdoch for sure and I have been with him for the last 15 or 20 years. My backing of Rupert Murdoch is definitely unwavering," he added.
The Murdoch family controls just under 40% of voting rights at News Corp.
When contacted, News Corp said it had no comment to make on Alwaleed's views.