By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Whatchamacolumn: Speculators miffed by Fox stock losses

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this week’s lawsuit against Fox Corporation by New York and Oregon pension funds. New York Times and Associated Press reports provided the framework of a story that drips with financial irony and legal suspense.

According to the Times, as of July 31, New York pension funds owned about 857,000 shares of Fox, worth about $28.1 million. The AP story said Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System owned $5.2 million in Fox stock, or about 158,600 shares.

Wednesday, at $31.38, Fox stock values are down about 36 percent from the company’s all-time high of $48.89 per share on March 15, 2019. In other words, Oregon and New York pension funds were among a throng of stock market speculators who lost lots of money when Fox went rogue reporting and commenting on the 2020 election and its aftermath.

The Times quoted New York City Comptroller Brad Lander: “We are shareholders at a company that, unfortunately, has a longstanding practice of allowing conspiracy theories that its executives and its board know are false to be repeated over and over and over again, despite the very clear and present risk of defamation lawsuits eroding shareholder value. And there has been no effort to make governance reforms.”

A statement from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum added, “The directors’ choices exposed themselves and the company to liability and exposed their shareholders to significant risks. That is the crux of our lawsuit, and we look forward to making our case in court.”

Stepping back from the immediate drama, we have huge funds trying to enrich their pensioners by investing in a company whose reckless behavior had been on full display for many years. But Fox took negligence and purposeful deception to new levels in its most recent assault on democracy, as evidenced when the company settled a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million.

Did the pension plan operators really expect better of Fox?

This week’s complaint, filed in Delaware, also named Fox board members and other company executives. “Defendants,” the lawsuit states, “chose to invite robust defamation claims, with potentially huge financial liability and potentially larger business repercussions, rather than disappoint viewers of Fox News.”

One wonders how many lawsuits pension funds must file to recover the losses caused by dastardly deeds in big corporations. On the other hand, as my New York friend commented this week, it’s never a bad time to seek a return of basic fiduciary responsibility.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

So, those in charge of investing funds for particular pension accounts made a bad stock pick and now are suing to recover the losses. Is this the new culture, where stock traders can file suit if the stock performs poorly? Where does one find a position like that, where even if you make a glaring mistake, the fault lies with anyone but the 'expert'?

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