10/17/2011 05:23 pm ET Updated Dec 13, 2011

News Corp., Discovery Among Riskiest Companies: GMI

Investors looking for a low-risk investment likely know to stay away from News Corp. -- Rupert Murdoch’s media empire that was rocked by a phone hacking scandal this summer.

But they might be surprised to find that Discovery Communications and shoemaker K-Swiss Inc. also find themselves among the riskiest companies, according to GovernanceMetrics International. Other brands that make the top ten of GMI’s risk list include oil and gas exploration company Comstock Resources and homebuilder M.D.C. Holdings.

Apollo Group, parent company of the for-profit University of Phoenix, tops the list. For-profit colleges have faced increased media and government scrutiny for their elevated default rates on student loans and other issues, which could be why GMI rated Apollo the riskiest company. Enrollment at the for-profit college dropped 42 percent in the last three months of 2010.

GMI said they take environmental, social, governance and accounting transparency issues when compiling the list.

News Corp. ranked in the top ten as it continues to deal with the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal at its former publication, News of the World. The company also allegedly paid sources at rival publications for scoops, the Associated Press reported last month.

Though not marred in scandal, K-Swiss brings its own risk to investors. Shares of the shoemaker fell below 52-week lows last month, according to Financial News Network. Discovery Communications, the parent company of the Discovery Channel and another big name that made the list, is making moves to expand its digital offerings, according to the Wall Street Journal, and has been ponying up cash to save Oprah’s Own Network, the New York Post reports.

Here are the 10 riskiest companies, according to GMI: