Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stock | In new SEC filings, a Murdoch puzzler

[A newly filed document for director James Murdoch; bigger view]

I'm pretty good at reading obscure company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. But a series of new ones filed yesterday on behalf of about a dozen News Corp. board members has left me stumped. Maybe someone reading this post can help.

These are Form 4 filings, public documents disclosing transactions by insiders. Most of them concern relatively small numbers of shares, some in the form of what look like options. Two of them, however, involve much larger blocks of shares held by director James Murdoch (left), who also is head of the company's operations in Europe and Asia. He is, of course, one of CEO Rupert Murdoch's adult children, and a likely heir-apparent to his father.

Although both were filed yesterday, they cover two different transaction dates: Jan. 1, 2009, and Jan. 1, 2010. The 2009 document is here; 2010's is here. The number of shares described is virtually identical in both cases. The one I've posted above is the more recent.

As I interpret them, Murdoch is acquiring and immediately selling 133,333 shares of NWS for $13.69 each, for a total price of $1.8 million. Can anyone confirm my calculation?

Related: all the company's recent SEC filings on News Corp.'s investor relations page

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

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