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Southeastern buys second-largest stake in News Corp

Published September 12. 2013 4:00AM

Southeastern Asset Management, the investment firm that joined Carl Icahn in opposing Dell's buyout, acquired a 12 percent voting stake in News Corp, making it the largest shareholder after Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

The 23.8 million-share Class B stake, disclosed in a regulatory filing yesterday, is valued at about $397 million, based on a closing price of $16.72. The investment accounts for about a 4.1 percent economic interest in New York-based News Corp, the publishing business split off in June from Murdoch's film and television division.

Southeastern, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mason Hawkins, has no plans to influence News Corp, according to the filing. The investment company, based in Memphis, Tenn., is known for value investing, though it has occasionally tried to sway management. Hawkins and Icahn dropped their opposition this week to Michael Dell's $24.9 billion plan to buy out Dell.

"There is a lot of value here that may not be fully recognized by the market," said John Janedis, an analyst at UBS in New York. He has a buy rating on the stock and expects it to climb to $19 within the next 12 months.

News Corp has two classes of shares, and only Class B shareholders have voting rights. The Class B shares rose 2 percent to $17.05 at 3 p.m. in New York, while the more widely traded Class A stock also advanced 2 percent to $16.89. Both stocks are trading at record highs.

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