Church of England Faults News Corp on Hacking Response, Sells Shares

(Photo: Church of England)Members of the Church of England celebrate the Eucharist in at the 2012 General Synod

The Church of England said Tuesday three of its church investment bodies have sold all their shares in News Corp, saying that the media giant's board of directors failed to make sufficient changes in its corporate governance over a year of talks in the wake of a subsidiary's phone hacking scandal.

The Church did not release details on the changes is requested of the company.

The Church said it sold shares on the advice of its internal group its Ethical Investment Advisory Group. The Church said EIAG includes representatives from its General Synod, Archbishops' Council and Council for Mission and Public Affairs, as well as the investing bodies.

The total worth of shares was 1.9 million pounds ($2.97 million).

Andrew Brown, Secretary of the Church Commissioners said the church actively pursued changes which did not take place.

"Our decision to disinvest was not one taken lightly and follows a year of continuous dialogue with the company, during which the EIAG put forward a number of recommendations around how corporate governance structures at News Corporation could be improved," said Andrew Brown, Secretary of the Church Commissioners.

"However the EIAG does not feel that the company has brought about sufficient change and we have accepted its advice to disinvest," he said.

The Church of England said the EIAG held meetings with 40 companies prioritized for engagement, one of which was News Corporation.

Church Investment Policy, Details

The church says it does not invest in companies involved in military products and services, pornography, alcoholic drinks, gambling, tobacco, human embryonic cloning and high interest rate lending.

The three national investment bodies of the church are: The Church Commissioners for England; the Church of England Pensions Board; and the CBF Church of England Funds. Together they hold assets worth in excess of 8 billion pounds.

Trustees of each separately constituted investment body decide whether to implement advice given, the church said.

The church said the fund sustain its network of 12,000 parishes, 16,000 churches, 8,500 stipendiary priests – and their pensions – and 10,000 readers and pastoral assistants and to support the daily work they carry out in their local communities.

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