Shares of News Corp., Rupert Murdoch's media empire, plummeted on Friday amid concern that the British phone-hacking scandal would thwart its bid to take full control of pay-TV giant BSkyB.
News Corp. stock was down 4.1 percent on the Nasdaq stock exchange as of 1630 GMT. It has shed more than seven percent since Tuesday, slashing the company's market capitalization by more than three billion dollars.
The company came under fierce criticism this week after reports that its News of the World tabloid had hacked into the voicemail accounts of a murdered girl and relatives of slain British soldiers.
News Corp. has apologized and said it will shut down News of the World, but investors are fleeing from its stock amid fear that investigations could ensnare the company's other businesses, analysts said.
"How high does it go?" said Marc Pado, US market strategist for Cantor Fitzgerald. "They are going to dig into this and they could take down key players within the corporation beyond the tabloid paper."
The scandal has also fuelled speculation that the British government will delay its decision on the company's bid for BSkyB until September.
News Corp. is seeking to buy the 61 percent of BSkyB which it does not already own. The powerful broadcaster holds most of the rights to English Premier League football.
Australian-born Murdoch has built News Corp. into a huge media empire which spans newspapers, television and Hollywood movies and wields huge political influence.
In Britain it owns The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times. In the United States it owns The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, as well as the 24-hour Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.
In Asia it controls the STAR network, while in Europe it is a major player in satellite-broadcasting with Sky Italia.
News Corp. also owns Hollywood film studio 20th Century Fox, producer of such global blockbusters as the "Star Wars" series, "Titanic" and "Avatar", as well as The Australian and other papers in Murdoch's native Australia.