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News Corp Launches Initial Stock Buyback Program

CEO Robert Thomson calls the offer a ”vote of confidence“ in digital strategy days after weak Q3 earnings report

News Corp. has begun repurchasing shares of Class A Common Stock under its previously disclosed buyback program, the company said Sunday.

It’s the first time the company has bought back stock under the program since it was established as a separate, publicly traded company in June 2013.

“We had indicated to investors that we needed two years to set the new News firmly on a digital and global course, and are confident that the substantial progress made thus far enables us to take this positive action ahead of schedule,” said News Corp. Chief Executive Robert Thomson.

Since the separation of News Corporation into two companies in 2013, News Corp. has pursued a strategy of digital and global growth that has included the acquisitions of Harlequin and Move, Inc.

“Our buyback program is clearly a vote of confidence in the company’s prospects and its potential,” said Thomson.

Future repurchases, if any, will depend on the company’s liquidity and cash flow, as well as general market conditions and other considerations, the company said.

Last week, News Corp. missed third fiscal quarter 2015 earnings estimates due to weak Wall Street Journal ad sales, which plunged 11 percent year-over-year. Its shares closed Friday at $15.09.

The publishing group includes newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, Times of London, New York Post, and the Australian, as well as the HarperCollins book publishing house, and has focused on digital initiatives since the split.

The other units of News Corp. became 21st Century Fox, which is focused on media and entertainment and includes the 20th Century Fox movie and television studios, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports, FX, National Geographic and the Fox broadcast network.

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