Two Church of England investing bodies announced on Aug. 6 that they have sold their shares in News Corporation, which was embroiled in a phone hacking scandal last year.
The shares, which had been held by the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board, were sold for £1.9 million ($2.9 million Cdn.).
The sale was recommended by the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), which advises the Church of England’s investing bodies on its ethical investment policy.
The EIAG had engaged in a yearlong dialogue with News Corporation but in the end was not convinced that the corporation “had shown or is likely in the immediate future to show, a commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform,” said the Church of England in a press statement.
In July 2011, journalists from one of the company’s publications, “News of the World,” were accused of hacking telephone messages of public figures, bribing police officials and paying for confidential information. The company’s chair and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, shut down the London-based tabloid following the scandal.
The phone hacking allegations “raised some serious concerns amongst the Church’s investing bodies,” said a statement issued by Andrew Brown, secretary of the Church Commissioners. “Our decision to disinvest was not one taken lightly.”
The Church of England currently excludes investments in companies involved in military products and services, pornography, alcoholic drinks, gambling, tobacco, human embryonic cloning and high-interest lending.