Murdoch's senior advisor ditches bucket load of shares

A round-up of the biggest director deals today so far.

Arthur Siskind, senior advisor to News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, has ditched 120,000 shares in the firm.

Siskind sold the shares at $20.26 each for a total of $2,431,200 on February 29th.

The transaction came just one day before James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, quit his role as Executive Chairman of News International, which sparked concerns that he will succeed his father as Chief Executive Officer of News Corp, the parent company of News International.

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The trustees of banking giant HSBC released and subsequently sold 477,174 ordinary shares in the name of its CEO Stuart Gulliver. That followed the partial vesting of the restricted shares awarded to him in 2010 under the HSBC share plan.

Gulliver, who earned £5.9m in bonuses on top of his £1.25m salary, disposed of the shares on February 27th at 555.20p each, leaving him with just over 4.44m shares.

The deal came one day after the bank reported strong profits growth in 2011 despite profits at its investment banking arm taking a dive.

Reported profit before tax, at $21,872m, was ahead of expectations and up from $19,037m the year before. It was, however, boosted by favourable fair value movements of HSBC's own debt to the tune of $3.9bn.

Retail Banking and Wealth Management contributed $4,270m to profits in 2011, up from 3,839m the year before. The Commercial Banking arm's profits rose to a record $7,947m from $6,090m.

Earnings per share were up 26% on 2010 at 92 cents, ahead of broker Charles Stanley's forecast of 87 cents.

Gulliver hailed it as "a year of major progress".

Top Director Buys

Berendsen (BRSN)

Director name: Mr Iain Ferguson

Amount purchased: 35,000 @ 518.00p

Value: £181,300

Bank of America Corp. (BAC)

Director name: Mr Donald E. Powell

Amount purchased: 10,000 @ $8.10

Value: $81,000

JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust (JMG)

Director name: Mr Percy Mistry

Amount purchased: 5,000 @ 460.00p

Value: £23,000

Artemis VCT (AAM)

Director name: Mrs Fiona E Wollocombe

Amount purchased: 20,733 @ 50.00p

Value: £10,366

Rotork (ROR)

Director name: Mr Roger Lockwood

Amount purchased: 500 @ 2,062.00p

Value: £10,310

Top Director Sells

News Corp. 'A' Shares (NCRA)

Director name: Mr Arthur Siskind

Amount sold: 120,000 @ $20.26

Value: $2,431,200

Whitbread (WTB)

Director name: Mr Christopher C B Rogers

Amount sold: 36,354 @ 1,686.51p

Value: £613,114

Whitbread (WTB)

Director name: Mr Patrick Dempsey

Amount sold: 26,353 @ 1,686.51p

Value: £444,446


Director name: Mr Ian Griffiths

Amount sold: 262,067 @ 88.31p

Value: £231,431

Rotork (ROR)

Director name: Mr Peter France

Amount sold: 10,513 @ 2,065.00p

Value: £217,093

Travis Perkins (TPK)

Director name: Mr Joseph Mescall

Amount sold: 13,689 @ 1,081.65p

Value: £148,067

Rotork (ROR)

Director name: Dr Graham Ogden

Amount sold: 6,917 @ 2,065.00p

Value: £142,836

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.)

Director name: Mr Mike Terrett

Amount sold: 16,344 @ 816.00p

Value: £133,367

Tower Resources (TRP)

Director name: Mr Peter Kingston

Amount sold: 3,600,000 @ 2.65p

Value: £95,400

Rotork (ROR)

Director name: Mr Stephen R. Jones

Amount sold: 3,330 @ 2,065.00p

Value: £68,764