Rupert Murdoch

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Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch - Flickr - Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.jpg
Murdoch in December 2012
Keith Rupert Murdoch

(1931-03-11) 11 March 1931 (age 88)
CitizenshipAustralian (1931–1985)
American (naturalized 1985) [lower-alpha 1]
Alma mater Worcester College, Oxford (BA)
Known forChairman and CEO of News Corporation (1980–2013)
Executive chairman of News Corp (2013–present)
Chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox (2013–2015)
Executive Co-chairman of 21st Century Fox (2015–2019)
Acting CEO of Fox News (2016–2018)
Chairman of Fox News (2016–2019)
Chairman of Fox Corporation (2019–present)
Net worthUS$20.1 billion (October 2018) [1]
Political party Republican
Board member of News Corp
Fox Corporation
Children6, including Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James
Parent(s) Keith Murdoch
Elisabeth Joy
Relatives Ivon Murdoch (uncle)
Patrick Murdoch (grandfather)
Walter Murdoch (great-uncle)
AwardsCompanion of the Order of Australia (1984) [2]
  1. Australian citizenship lost in 1985 (under S17 of Australian Citizenship Act 1948) with acquisition of US nationality.

Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC KCSG (born 11 March 1931) is an Australian-born American media mogul who founded News Corp. [3]

Order of Australia National order of chivalry of the Commonwealth of Australia

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. Before the establishment of the order, Australian citizens received British honours.

Order of St. Gregory the Great Honorary Order of Knighthood of the Holy See

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great was established on 1 September 1831, by Pope Gregory XVI, seven months after his election to that seat by the College of Cardinals.

News Corporation (1980–2013) media corporation

The original incarnation of News Corporation was an American multinational mass media corporation operated and owned by media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, headquartered in New York City. Prior to its split in 2013, it was the world's fourth-largest media group in terms of revenue, and News Corporation had become a media powerhouse since its inception, almost dominating the news, television, film and print industries.


Murdoch's father, Sir Keith Murdoch, was a reporter and editor who became a senior executive of The Herald and Weekly Times publishing company, covering all Australian states except New South Wales. [4] After his father's death in 1952, Murdoch declined to join his late father's registered public company and created his own private company, News Limited.

Keith Murdoch Australian journalist, businessman and father of Rupert Murdoch

Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch was an Australian journalist, businessman and the father of Rupert Murdoch, the current CEO and Chairman of News Corp.

The Herald and Weekly Times Australian newspaper publisher

The Herald and Weekly Times Limited (HWT) is a newspaper publishing company based in Melbourne, Australia. It is owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Australia, which purchased HWT in 1987.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Murdoch acquired a number of newspapers in Australia and New Zealand before expanding into the United Kingdom in 1969, taking over the News of the World , followed closely by The Sun . In 1974, Murdoch moved to New York City, to expand into the U.S. market; however, he retained interests in Australia and Britain. In 1981, Murdoch bought The Times , his first British broadsheet and, in 1985, became a naturalized U.S. citizen, giving up his Australian citizenship, to satisfy the legal requirement for U.S. television network ownership. [5]

The media of New Zealand include television stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and websites. Most outlets are foreign-owned, with media conglomerates like NZME, Stuff, MediaWorks and Sky dominating the media landscape. Most media organisations operate Auckland-based newsrooms with Parliamentary Press Gallery reporters and international media partners, but most broadcast programmes, music and syndicated columns are imported from the United States and United Kingdom.

Media of the United Kingdom

There are several different types of media in the United Kingdom: television, radio, newspapers, magazines and websites. The country also has a strong music industry. The United Kingdom has a diverse range of providers, the most prominent being the publicly owned public service broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The BBC's largest competitors are ITV plc, which operates 13 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network, and American global media conglomerate Comcast, which owns the broadcaster Sky Ltd. Regional media is covered by local radio, television and print newspapers. Trinity Mirror operates 240 local and regional newspapers, as well as national newspapers such as the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror.

<i>News of the World</i> British tabloid newspaper

The News of the World was a national red top newspaper published in the United Kingdom from 1843 to 2011. It was at one time the highest-selling English-language newspapers in the world, and at closure still had one of the highest English-language circulations. It was originally established as a broadsheet by John Browne Bell, who identified crime, sensation and vice as the themes that would sell copies. The Bells sold to Henry Lascelles Carr in 1891; in 1969 it was bought from the Carrs by Rupert Murdoch's media firm News Limited. Reorganised into News International, itself a subsidiary of News Corporation, it was transformed into a tabloid in 1984 and became the Sunday sister paper of The Sun. The newspaper concentrated on celebrity scoops and populist news. Its fondness for sex scandals gained it the nickname News of the Screws. It had a reputation for exposing national or local celebrities' drug use, sexual peccadilloes, or criminal acts, setting up insiders and journalists in disguise to provide either video or photographic evidence, and phone hacking in ongoing police investigations. Sales averaged 2,812,005 copies per week in October 2010.

In 1986, keen to adopt newer electronic publishing technologies, Murdoch consolidated his UK printing operations in Wapping, causing bitter industrial disputes. His holding company News Corporation acquired Twentieth Century Fox (1985), HarperCollins (1989), [6] and The Wall Street Journal (2007). Murdoch formed the British broadcaster BSkyB in 1990 and, during the 1990s, expanded into Asian networks and South American television. By 2000, Murdoch's News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries, with a net worth of over $5 billion.

Wapping district in East London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Wapping is a district in East London in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and uniquely has it own postcode area E1W, which covers the entire area. It is part of the traditional county of Middlesex, but for administrative purposes was part of the County of London following the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, it later became part of Greater London in 1965.

20th Century Fox American film studio

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is an American film studio that is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The studio is located on the Fox Lot in the Century City area of Los Angeles.

HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. is one of the world's largest publishing companies and is one of the Big Five English-language publishing companies, alongside Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan. The company is headquartered in New York City and is a subsidiary of News Corp. The name is a combination of several publishing firm names: Harper & Row, an American publishing company acquired in 1987, together with UK publishing company William Collins, Sons, acquired in 1990.

In July 2011, Murdoch faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the World , owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty, and public citizens. Murdoch faced police and government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government and FBI investigations in the U.S. [7] [8] On 21 July 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News International. [9] [10] On 1 July 2015, Murdoch left his post as CEO of 21st Century Fox. [11] However, Murdoch and his family would continue to own both 21st Century Fox (until 2019) and News Corp through the Murdoch Family Trust. [12] [13] [14] [15]

News International phone hacking scandal Media scandal

The News International phone-hacking scandal was a controversy involving the now-defunct News of the World and other British newspapers published by News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation. Employees of the newspaper were accused of engaging in phone hacking, police bribery, and exercising improper influence in the pursuit of stories. Whilst investigations conducted from 2005 to 2007 appeared to show that the paper's phone hacking activities were limited to celebrities, politicians, and members of the British royal family, in July 2011 it was revealed that the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers, and victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings had also been hacked. The resulting public outcry against News Corporation and its owner Rupert Murdoch led to several high-profile resignations, including that of Murdoch as News Corporation director, Murdoch's son James as executive chairman, Dow Jones chief executive Les Hinton, News International legal manager Tom Crone, and chief executive Rebekah Brooks. The commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Sir Paul Stephenson, also resigned. Advertiser boycotts led to the closure of the News of the World on 10 July 2011, after 168 years of publication. Public pressure shortly forced News Corporation to cancel its proposed takeover of the British satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Governmental agency belonging to the United States Department of Justice

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.

21st Century Fox Former American multinational mass media corporation

Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., doing business as 21st Century Fox (21CF), was an American multinational mass media corporation that was based in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was one of the two companies formed from the 2013 spin-off of the publishing assets of News Corporation, as founded by Rupert Murdoch in 1980.

In July 2016, after the resignation of Roger Ailes due to accusations of sexual harassment, Murdoch was named the acting CEO of Fox News. [16] [17]

Roger Ailes American television executive and political consultant

Roger Eugene Ailes was an American television executive and media consultant. He was the chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, from which he resigned in July 2016 following allegations that he had engaged in sexual harassment. Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, and for Rudy Giuliani's first mayoral campaign. In 2016, he became an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, where he assisted with debate preparation.

Fox News American television news channel

Fox News is an American pay television news channel. It is owned by the Fox News Group, which itself was owned by News Corporation from 1996–2013, 21st Century Fox from 2013–2019, and Fox Corporation since 2019. The channel broadcasts primarily from studios at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City. Fox News is provided in 86 countries or overseas territories worldwide, with international broadcasts featuring Fox Extra segments during ad breaks.

Early life

Keith Rupert Murdoch was born on 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, the son of Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952) and Dame Elisabeth Murdoch (née Greene; 1909–2012). He is of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. Murdoch's parents were also born in Melbourne. Keith Murdoch was a war correspondent and later a regional newspaper magnate owning two newspapers in Adelaide, South Australia, and a radio station in a faraway mining town, and chairman of the powerful Herald and Weekly Times group. [5] [18] :16 Later in life, Keith Rupert chose to go by his second name, the first name of his maternal grandfather.

Keith Murdoch the elder asked to meet with his future wife after seeing her debutante photograph in one of his own newspapers and they married in 1928, when she was aged 19 and he was 23 years older. [19] In addition to Rupert, the couple had three daughters: Janet Calvert-Jones, Anne Kantor and Helen Handbury (1929–2004). Murdoch attended Geelong Grammar School, [20] where he was co-editor of the school's official journal The Corian and editor of the student journal If Revived. [21] [22] He took his school's cricket team to the National Junior Finals. He worked part-time at the Melbourne Herald and was groomed by his father to take over the family business. [5] [23] Murdoch studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford in England, where he kept a bust of Lenin in his rooms and came to be known as "Red Rupert". He was a member of the Oxford University Labour Party, [18] :34 [23] stood for Secretary of the Labour Club [24] and managed Oxford Student Publications Limited, the publishing house of Cherwell . [25] After his father's death from cancer in 1952, his mother Elisabeth did charity work as life governor of the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne and established the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. At the age of 102 (in 2011), she had 74 descendants. [19] Murdoch completed an MA before working as a sub-editor with the Daily Express for two years. [5]

Activities in Australia and New Zealand

Journalist Sir Keith Murdoch (1885-1952), Rupert Murdoch's father KeithMurdoch.jpg
Journalist Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952), Rupert Murdoch's father

Following his father's death, when he was 21, Murdoch returned from Oxford to take charge of what was left of the family business. After liquidation of his father's Herald stake to pay taxes, what was left was News Limited, which had been established in 1923. [18] :16 Rupert Murdoch turned its Adelaide newspaper, The News , its main asset, into a major success. [23] He began to direct his attention to acquisition and expansion, buying the troubled Sunday Times in Perth, Western Australia (1956) and over the next few years acquiring suburban and provincial newspapers in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory, including the Sydney afternoon tabloid, The Daily Mirror (1960). The Economist describes Murdoch as "inventing the modern tabloid", [26] as he developed a pattern for his newspapers, increasing sports and scandal coverage and adopting eye-catching headlines. [5]

Murdoch's first foray outside Australia involved the purchase of a controlling interest in the New Zealand daily The Dominion . In January 1964, while touring New Zealand with friends in a rented Morris Minor after sailing across the Tasman, Murdoch read of a takeover bid for the Wellington paper by the British-based Canadian newspaper magnate, Lord Thomson of Fleet. On the spur of the moment, he launched a counter-bid. A four-way battle for control ensued in which the 32-year-old Murdoch was ultimately successful. [27] Later in 1964, Murdoch launched The Australian , Australia's first national daily newspaper, which was based first in Canberra and later in Sydney. [28] In 1972, Murdoch acquired the Sydney morning tabloid The Daily Telegraph from Australian media mogul Sir Frank Packer, who later regretted selling it to him. [29] In 1984, Murdoch was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for services to publishing. [30]

In 1999, Murdoch significantly expanded his music holdings in Australia by acquiring the controlling share in a leading Australian independent label, Michael Gudinski's Mushroom Records; he merged that with Festival Records, and the result was Festival Mushroom Records (FMR). Both Festival and FMR were managed by Murdoch's son James Murdoch for several years. [31]

Political activities in Australia

Murdoch found a political ally in Sir John McEwen, leader of the Australian Country Party (now known as the National Party of Australia), who was governing in coalition with the larger Menzies-Holt-Gorton Liberal Party. From the very first issue of The Australian Murdoch began taking McEwen's side in every issue that divided the long-serving coalition partners. (The Australian, 15 July 1964, first edition, front page: "Strain in Cabinet, Liberal-CP row flares.") It was an issue that threatened to split the coalition government and open the way for the stronger Australian Labor Party to dominate Australian politics. It was the beginning of a long campaign that served McEwen well. [32]

After McEwen and Menzies retired, Murdoch threw his growing power behind the Australian Labor Party under the leadership of Gough Whitlam and duly saw it elected [33] on a social platform that included universal free health care, free education for all Australians to tertiary level, recognition of the People's Republic of China, and public ownership of Australia's oil, gas and mineral resources. Rupert Murdoch's backing of Whitlam turned out to be brief. Murdoch had already started his short-lived National Star [32] newspaper in America, and was seeking to strengthen his political contacts there. [34]

Asked about the 2007 Australian federal election at News Corporation's annual general meeting in New York on 19 October 2007, its chairman Rupert Murdoch said, "I am not commenting on anything to do with Australian politics. I'm sorry. I always get into trouble when I do that." Pressed as to whether he believed Prime Minister John Howard should continue as prime minister, he said: "I have nothing further to say. I'm sorry. Read our editorials in the papers. It'll be the journalists who decide that – the editors." [35] In 2009, in response to accusations by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that News Limited was running vendettas against him and his government, Murdoch opined that Rudd was "oversensitive". [36] Murdoch described Howard's successor, Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, as "...more ambitious to lead the world [in tackling climate change] than to lead Australia..." and criticised Rudd's expansionary fiscal policies in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 as unnecessary. [37] Although News Limited's interests are extensive, also including the Daily Telegraph , the Courier-Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser , it was suggested by the commentator Mungo MacCallum in The Monthly that "the anti-Rudd push, if coordinated at all, was almost certainly locally driven" as opposed to being directed by Murdoch, who also took a different position from local editors on such matters as climate change and stimulus packages to combat the financial crisis. [38]

Murdoch is a supporter of an Australian republic, having campaigned for one during the 1999 referendum. [39]

Activities in the United Kingdom

Business activities in the United Kingdom

Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, in 2007 Rupert Murdoch - WEF Davos 2007.jpg
Rupert Murdoch – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, in 2007

In 1968, Murdoch entered the British newspaper market with his acquisition of the populist News of the World , followed in 1969 with the purchase of the struggling daily The Sun from IPC. [40] Murdoch turned The Sun into a tabloid format and reduced costs by using the same printing press for both newspapers. On acquiring it, he appointed Albert 'Larry' Lamb as editor and – Lamb recalled later – told him: "I want a tearaway paper with lots of tits in it". In 1997 The Sun attracted 10 million daily readers. [5] In 1981, Murdoch acquired the struggling Times and Sunday Times from Canadian newspaper publisher Lord Thomson of Fleet. [40] Ownership of The Times came to him through his relationship with Lord Thomson, who had grown tired of losing money on it as a result of an extended period of industrial action that stopped publication. [41] In the light of success and expansion at The Sun the owners believed that Murdoch could turn the papers around. Harold Evans, editor of the Sunday Times from 1967, was switched to the daily Times, though he stayed only a year amid editorial conflict with Murdoch. [42] [43]

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Murdoch's publications were generally supportive of Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. [44] At the end of the Thatcher/Major era, Murdoch switched his support to the Labour Party and its leader, Tony Blair. The closeness of his relationship with Blair and their secret meetings to discuss national policies was to become a political issue in Britain. [45] This later changed, with The Sun, in its English editions, publicly renouncing the ruling Labour government and lending its support to David Cameron's Conservative Party, which soon afterwards formed a coalition government. In Scotland, where the Tories had suffered a complete annihilation in 1997, the paper began to endorse the Scottish National Party (though not yet its flagship policy of independence), which soon after came to form the first ever outright majority in the proportionally elected Scottish Parliament. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's official spokesman said in November 2009 that Brown and Murdoch "were in regular communication" and that "there is nothing unusual in the prime minister talking to Rupert Murdoch". [46]

In 1986, Murdoch introduced electronic production processes to his newspapers in Australia, Britain and the United States. The greater degree of automation led to significant reductions in the number of employees involved in the printing process. In England, the move roused the anger of the print unions, resulting in a long and often violent dispute that played out in Wapping, one of London's docklands areas, where Murdoch had installed the very latest electronic newspaper purpose-built publishing facility in an old warehouse. [47] The bitter Wapping dispute started with the dismissal of 6,000 employees who had gone on strike and resulted in street battles and demonstrations. Many on the political left in Britain alleged the collusion of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government with Murdoch in the Wapping affair, as a way of damaging the British trade union movement. [48] [49] [50] In 1987, the dismissed workers accepted a settlement of £60 million. [5]

Murdoch's British-based satellite network, Sky Television, incurred massive losses in its early years of operation. As with many of his other business interests, Sky was heavily subsidised by the profits generated by his other holdings, but convinced rival satellite operator British Satellite Broadcasting to accept a merger on his terms in 1990. [5] The merged company, BSkyB, has dominated the British pay-TV market ever since pursuing direct to home (DTH) satellite broadcasting. [51] By 1996, BSkyB had more than 3.6 million subscribers, triple the number of cable customers in the UK. [5] Murdoch has a seat on the Strategic Advisory Board of Genie Oil and Gas, having jointly investing with Lord Rothschild in a 5.5% stake in the company which conducted shale gas and oil exploration in Colorado, Mongolia, Israel and, controversially, the occupied Golan Heights. [52]

In response to print media's decline and the increasing influence of online journalism during the 2000s, Murdoch proclaimed his support of the micropayments model for obtaining revenue from on-line news, [53] although this has been criticised by some. [54]

In January 2018, the CMA blocked Murdoch from taking over the remaining 61% of BSkyB he did not already own, over fear of market dominance that could potentialise censorship of the media. His bid for BSkyB was later approved by the CMA as long as he sold Sky News to The Walt Disney Company, who was already set to acquire 21st Century Fox. However, it was Comcast who won control of BSkyB in a blind auction ordered by the CMA. Murdoch ultimately sold his 39% of BSkyB to Comcast.

News Corporation has subsidiaries in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands and the Virgin Islands. From 1986, News Corporation's annual tax bill averaged around seven percent of its profits. [55]

Political activities in United Kingdom

In Britain, in the 1980s, Murdoch formed a close alliance with Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and The Sun credited itself with helping her successor John Major to win an unexpected election victory in the 1992 general election, which had been expected to end in a hung parliament or a narrow win for Neil Kinnock's Labour. [56] In the general elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005, Murdoch's papers were either neutral or supported Labour under Tony Blair.[ citation needed ]

The Labour Party, from when Tony Blair became leader in 1994, had moved from the Left to a more centrist position on many economic issues prior to 1997. Murdoch identifies himself as a libertarian, saying "What does libertarian mean? As much individual responsibility as possible, as little government as possible, as few rules as possible. But I'm not saying it should be taken to the absolute limit." [57]

In a 2005 speech delivered in New York, Murdoch said that Blair described the BBC coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster as being full of hatred of America. [58]

In 1998, Murdoch made an attempt to buy the football club Manchester United F.C., [59] with an offer of £625 million, but this failed. It was the largest amount ever offered for a sports club. It was blocked by the United Kingdom's Competition Commission, which stated that the acquisition would have "hurt competition in the broadcast industry and the quality of British football".

On 28 June 2006, the BBC reported that Murdoch and News Corporation were considering backing new Conservative leader David Cameron at the next General Election – still up to four years away. [60] In a later interview in July 2006, when he was asked what he thought of the Conservative leader, Murdoch replied "Not much". [61] In a 2009 blog, it was suggested that in the aftermath of the News of the World phone hacking scandal which might yet have Transatlantic implications [62] Murdoch and News Corporation might have decided to back Cameron. [63] Despite this, there had already been a convergence of interests between the two men over the muting of Britain's communications regulator Ofcom. [64]

In August 2008, British Conservative leader and future Prime Minister David Cameron accepted free flights to hold private talks and attend private parties with Murdoch on his yacht, the Rosehearty. [65] Cameron declared in the Commons register of interests he accepted a private plane provided by Murdoch's son-in-law, public relations guru Matthew Freud; Cameron did not reveal his talks with Murdoch. The gift of travel in Freud's Gulfstream IV private jet was valued at around £30,000. Other guests attending the "social events" included the then EU trade commissioner Lord Mandelson, the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and co-chairman of NBC Universal Ben Silverman. The Conservatives did not disclose what was discussed. [66]

In July 2011, it emerged that Cameron met key executives of Murdoch's News Corporation 26 times during the 14 months that Cameron had served as Prime Minister. [67] It was also reported that Murdoch had given Cameron a personal guarantee that there would be no risk attached to hiring Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World, as the Conservative Party's communication director in 2007. [68] This was in spite of Coulson having resigned as editor over phone hacking by a reporter. Cameron chose to take Murdoch's advice, despite warnings from Nick Clegg, Lord Ashdown and The Guardian . [69] Coulson resigned his post in 2011 and was later arrested and questioned on allegations of further criminal activity at The News of the World, specifically the News International phone hacking scandal. As a result of the subsequent trial, Coulson was sentenced to 18 months in jail. [70]

In June 2016, The Sun supported Vote Leave in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Murdoch called the Brexit result "wonderful", comparing the decision to withdraw from the EU as like "a prison break….we're out". [71]

News International phone hacking scandal

In July 2011, Murdoch, along with his son James, provided testimony before a British parliamentary committee regarding phone hacking. In the U.K., his media empire remains under fire as investigators continue to probe reports of other phone hacking. [72]

On 14 July, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons served a summons on Murdoch, his son James, and his former CEO Rebekah Brooks to testify before a committee on 19 July. [73] After an initial refusal, the Murdochs confirmed they would attend after the committee issued them a summons to Parliament. [74] The day before the committee, the website of the News Corporation publication The Sun was hacked, and a false story was posted on the front page claiming that Murdoch had died. [75] Murdoch described the day of the committee "the most humble day of my life". He argued that since he ran a global business of 53,000 employees and that the News of the World was "just 1%" of this, he was not ultimately responsible for what went on at the tabloid. He added that he had not considered resigning, [76] and that he and the other top executives had been completely unaware of the hacking. [77] [78]

On 15 July, Murdoch attended a private meeting in London with the family of Milly Dowler, where he personally apologized for the hacking of their murdered daughter's voicemail by a company he owns. [79] [80] On 16 and 17 July, News International published two full-page apologies in many of Britain's national newspapers. The first apology took the form of a letter, signed by Murdoch, in which he said sorry for the "serious wrongdoing" that occurred. The second was titled "Putting right what's gone wrong", and gave more detail about the steps News International was taking to address the public's concerns. [80] In the wake of the allegations Murdoch accepted the resignations of Rebekah Brooks, head of Murdoch's British operations, and Les Hinton, head of Dow Jones who was chairman of Murdoch's British newspaper division when some of the abuses happened. They both deny any knowledge of any wrongdoing under their command. [81]

On 27 February 2012, the day after the first issue of The Sun on Sunday was published, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers informed the Leveson Inquiry that police are investigating a "network of corrupt officials" as part of their inquiries into phone hacking and police corruption. She said that evidence suggested a "culture of illegal payments" at the Sun newspaper and that these payments allegedly made by the Sun were authorised at a senior level. [82]

In testimony on 25 April 2012, Murdoch did not deny the quote attributed to him by his former editor of The Sunday Times, Harold Evans: "I give instructions to my editors all round the world, why shouldn't I in London?" [83] [84] On 1 May 2012, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee issued a report stating that Murdoch was "not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company". [85] [86]

On 3 July 2013, the Exaro website and Channel 4 News broke the story of a secretly recorded tape. The tape was recorded by Sun journalists and in it Murdoch can be heard telling them that the whole investigation was one big fuss over nothing, and that he, or his successors, would take care of any journalists who went to prison. [87] He said: "Why are the police behaving in this way? It's the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing." [88]

Activities in the United States

Murdoch made his first acquisition in the United States in 1973, when he purchased the San Antonio Express-News . In 1974, Murdoch moved to New York City, to expand into the U.S. market; however, he retained interests in Australia and Britain. Soon afterwards, he founded Star , a supermarket tabloid, and in 1976, he purchased the New York Post . [5] On 4 September 1985, Murdoch became a naturalized citizen to satisfy the legal requirement that only US citizens were permitted to own US television stations. This resulted in Murdoch, in effect, renouncing his Australian citizenship. [89] [90]

In March 1984, Marvin Davis sold Marc Rich's interest in 20th Century Fox to Murdoch for $250 million due to Marc Rich's trade deals with Iran, which were sanctioned by the United States at the time. Marvin Davis later backed out of a deal with Murdoch to purchase John Kluge's Metromedia television stations. [91] Rupert Murdoch bought the stations by himself, without Marvin Davis, and later bought out Davis's remaining stake in Fox for $325 million. [91] The six television stations owned by Metromedia formed the nucleus of the Fox Broadcasting Company, founded on 9 October 1986, which later had great success with programs including The Simpsons and The X-Files . [5]

In Australia, during 1987, he bought The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, the company that his father had once managed. Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox bought out the remaining assets of Four Star Television from Ronald Perelman's Compact Video in 1996. [92] Most of Four Star Television's library of programs are controlled by 20th Century Fox Television today. [93] [94] [95] After Murdoch's numerous buyouts during the buyout era of the eighties, News Corporation had built up financial debts of $7 billion (much from Sky TV in the UK), despite the many assets that were held by NewsCorp. [5] The high levels of debt caused Murdoch to sell many of the American magazine interests he had acquired in the mid-1980s.

In 1993, Murdoch's Fox Network took exclusive coverage of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL) from CBS and increased programming to seven days a week. [96] In 1995, Fox became the object of scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), when it was alleged that News Ltd.'s Australian base made Murdoch's ownership of Fox illegal. However, the FCC ruled in Murdoch's favour, stating that his ownership of Fox was in the best interests of the public. That same year, Murdoch announced a deal with MCI Communications to develop a major news website and magazine, The Weekly Standard . Also that year, News Corporation launched the Foxtel pay television network in Australia in partnership with Telstra. In 1996, Murdoch decided to enter the cable news market with the Fox News Channel, a 24-hour cable news station. Ratings studies released in 2009 showed that the network was responsible for nine of the top ten programs in the "Cable News" category at that time. [97] Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner (founder and former owner of CNN) are long-standing rivals. [98] In late 2003, Murdoch acquired a 34% stake in Hughes Electronics, the operator of the largest American satellite TV system, DirecTV, from General Motors for $6 billion (USD). [30] His Fox movie studio had global hits with Titanic and Avatar . [99]

In 2004, Murdoch announced that he was moving News Corporation headquarters from Adelaide, Australia to the United States. Choosing a US domicile was designed to ensure that American fund managers could purchase shares in the company, since many were deciding not to buy shares in non-US companies.[ citation needed ]

News Corporation logo News Corp. logo.svg
News Corporation logo

On 20 July 2005, News Corporation bought Intermix Media Inc., which held Myspace, Imagine Games Network and other social networking-themed websites, for US$580 million, making Murdoch a major player in online media concerns. [100] In June 2011, it sold off Myspace for US$35 million. [101] On 11 September 2005, News Corporation announced that it would buy IGN Entertainment for $650 million (USD). [102]

In May 2007, Murdoch made a $5 billion offer to purchase Dow Jones & Company. At the time, the Bancroft family, who had owned Dow Jones & Company for 105 years and controlled 64% of the shares at the time, declined the offer. Later, the Bancroft family confirmed a willingness to consider a sale. Besides Murdoch, the Associated Press reported that supermarket magnate Ron Burkle and Internet entrepreneur Brad Greenspan were among the other interested parties. [103] In 2007, Murdoch acquired Dow Jones & Company, [104] [105] which gave him such publications as The Wall Street Journal , Barron's Magazine , the Far Eastern Economic Review (based in Hong Kong) and SmartMoney . [106]

In June 2014, Murdoch's 21st Century Fox made a bid for Time Warner at $85 per share in stock and cash ($80 billion total) which Time Warner's board of directors turned down in July. Warner's CNN unit would have been sold to ease antitrust issues of the purchase. [107] On 5 August 2014 the company announced it had withdrawn its offer for Time Warner, and said it would spend $6 billion buying back its own shares over the following 12 months. [108]

Political activities in the United States

President Ronald Reagan during a meeting with Murdoch in 1983 Ronald Reagan with Rupert Murdoch and Charles Wick C12463-4.jpg
President Ronald Reagan during a meeting with Murdoch in 1983

McNight (2010) identifies four characteristics of his media operations: free market ideology; unified positions on matters of public policy; global editorial meetings; and opposition to liberal bias in other public media. [109]

On 8 May 2006, the Financial Times reported that Murdoch would be hosting a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Clinton's (D-New York) Senate re-election campaign. [110] In a 2008 interview with Walt Mossberg, Murdoch was asked whether he had "anything to do with the New York Post's endorsement of Barack Obama in the democratic primaries." Without hesitating, Murdoch replied, "Yeah. He is a rock star. It's fantastic. I love what he is saying about education. I don't think he will win Florida [...] but he will win in Ohio and the election. I am anxious to meet him. I want to see if he will walk the walk." [111] [112] Murdoch is a strong supporter of Israel and its domestic policies. [113]

In 2010, News Corporation gave US$1 million to the Republican Governors Association and $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [114] [115] [116] Murdoch also served on the board of directors of the libertarian Cato Institute. [117] Murdoch is also a supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act. [118]

Murdoch advocates more open immigration policies in western nations generally. [119] In the United States, Murdoch and chief executives from several major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing and Disney joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to form the Partnership for a New American Economy to advocate "for immigration reform – including a path to legal status for all illegal aliens now in the United States." [120] The coalition, reflecting Murdoch and Bloomberg's own views, also advocates significant increases in legal immigration to the United States as a means of boosting America's sluggish economy and lowering unemployment. The Partnership's immigration policy prescriptions are notably similar to those of the Cato Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—both of which Murdoch has supported in the past. [121]

The Wall Street Journal editorial page has similarly advocated for increased legal immigration, in contrast to the staunch anti-immigration stance of Murdoch's British newspaper, The Sun . [122] On 5 September 2010, Murdoch testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Membership on the "Role of Immigration in Strengthening America's Economy." In his testimony, Murdoch called for ending mass deportations and endorsed a "comprehensive immigration reform" plan that would include a pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants. [120]

In the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Murdoch was critical of the competence of Mitt Romney's team but was nonetheless strongly supportive of a Republican victory, tweeting: "Of course I want him [Romney] to win, save us from socialism, etc." [123]

In May 2013, Murdoch purchased the Moraga Estate, an estate, vineyard and winery in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. [124] [125] [126]

In October 2015, Murdoch stirred controversy when he praised Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and referenced President Barack Obama, tweeting, "Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide? And much else." [127] After which he apologized, tweeting, "Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming." [128]

Since Donald Trump became the U.S. president, Murdoch has shown support for him through the news stories broadcast in his media empire, including on Fox News. [129] In early 2018, Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, had an intimate dinner at Murdoch's Bel Air estate in Los Angeles. [130]

Activities in Europe

Murdoch owns controlling interest in Sky Italia, a satellite television provider in Italy. [131] Murdoch's business interests in Italy have been a source of contention since they began. [131] In 2010 Murdoch won a media dispute with then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A judge ruled the then Prime Minister's media arm Mediaset prevented News Corporation's Italian unit, Sky Italia, from buying advertisements on its television networks. [132]

Activities in Asia

In November 1986, News Corporation purchased about 35% of stake in the South China Morning Post group for about US$105 million. At that time, SCMP group was a stock-listed company, and was owned by HSBC, Hutchison Whampoa and Dow Jones & Company. [133] In December 1986, Dow Jones & Company offered News Corporation to sell about 19% of share it owned of SCMP for US$57.2 million, [134] and, by 1987, News Corporation completed the full takeover. [135] In September 1993, News Corporation have agreed to sell a 34.9% share in SCMP to Robert Kuok's Kerry Media for US$349 million. [136] In 1994, News Corporation sold the remaining 15.1% share in SCMP to MUI Group, disposing the Hong Kong newspaper. [137] [ better source needed ]

In June 1993, News Corporation attempted to acquire a 22% share in TVB, a terrestrial television broadcaster in Hong Kong, for about $237 million, [138] but Murdoch's company gave up, as the Hong Kong government would not relax the regulation regarding forigen ownership of broadcasting companies. [139]

In 1993, News Corporation acquired Star TV (renamed as Star in 2001), a Hong Kong company headed by Richard Li, [139] from Hutchison Whampoa for $1 billion (Souchou, 2000:28), and subsequently set up offices for it throughout Asia. The deal enabled News International to broadcast from Hong Kong to India, China, Japan and over thirty other countries in Asia, becoming one of the biggest satellite TV networks in the east. [5] However, the deal did not work out as Murdoch had planned, because the Chinese government placed restrictions on it that prevented it from reaching most of China.

In 2009, News Corporation reorganised Star; A few of such arrangements were that the original Star TV company's operations in East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East were integrated into Fox International Channels, and Star India was spun-off (but still within the News Corporation). [140] [141] [142]

Personal life


Murdoch with his third wife, Wendi, in 2011 Rupert Murdoch Wendi Murdoch 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Murdoch with his third wife, Wendi, in 2011

In 1956 Murdoch married Patricia Booker, a former shop assistant and flight attendant from Melbourne; the couple had their only child, Prudence, in 1958. [143] [144] They divorced in 1967. [145]

In 1967 Murdoch married Anna Maria Torv (Tõrv), [143] a Scottish-born cadet journalist working for his Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph . [145] In January 1998, 3 months before the announcement of his separation from Anna, a Roman Catholic, Murdoch was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great (KSG), a papal honour awarded by Pope John Paul II. [146] While Murdoch would often attend Mass with Torv, he never converted to Catholicism. [147] [148] Torv and Murdoch had three children: Elisabeth Murdoch (born in Sydney, Australia on 22 August 1968), Lachlan Murdoch (born in London, UK on 8 September 1971), and James Murdoch, (born in London on 13 December 1972). [143] [144] Murdoch's companies published two novels by his then wife: Family Business (1988) and Coming to Terms (1991), both considered to be vanity publications.[ citation needed ] They divorced in June 1999. Anna Murdoch received a settlement of US$1.2 billion in assets. [149]

On 25 June 1999, 17 days after divorcing his second wife, Murdoch, then aged 68, married Chinese-born Wendi Deng. [150] She was 30, a recent Yale School of Management graduate, and a newly appointed vice-president of his STAR TV. Murdoch had two daughters with her: Grace (born 2001) and Chloe (born 2003). Murdoch has six children in all, and is grandfather to thirteen grandchildren. [151] Near the end of his marriage to Wendi, hearsay concerning a possible link with Chinese intelligence became problematic to their relationship. [152] [153] On 13 June 2013, a News Corporation spokesperson confirmed that Murdoch filed for divorce from Deng in New York City, U.S. [154] [155] According to the spokesman, the marriage had been irretrievably broken for more than six months. [156] Murdoch also ended his long-standing friendship with Tony Blair after suspecting him of having an affair with Deng while they were still married. [157]

Jerry Hall, Murdoch's fourth wife, whom he married in March 2016, photographed in 2009 Jerry Hall headshot.jpg
Jerry Hall, Murdoch's fourth wife, whom he married in March 2016, photographed in 2009

On 11 January 2016, Murdoch announced his engagement to former model Jerry Hall in a notice in The Times newspaper. [158] On 4 March 2016, Murdoch, a week short of his 85th birthday, and 59-year-old Hall were married in London, at Spencer House; this is Murdoch's fourth marriage. [159]


Murdoch has six children. [160] His eldest child, Prudence MacLeod, was appointed on 28 January 2011 to the board of Times Newspapers Ltd, part of News International, which publishes The Times and The Sunday Times . [161] Murdoch's elder son Lachlan, formerly the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the News Corporation and publisher of the New York Post , was Murdoch's heir apparent before resigning from his executive posts at the global media company at the end of July 2005. [160] Lachlan's departure left James Murdoch, Chief Executive of the satellite television service British Sky Broadcasting since November 2003 as the only Murdoch son still directly involved with the company's operations, though Lachlan has agreed to remain on the News Corporation's board. [162]

After graduating from Vassar College [163] and marrying classmate Elkin Kwesi Pianim (the son of Ghanaian financial and political mogul Kwame Pianim) in 1993, [163] Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth and her husband purchased a pair of NBC-affiliate television stations in California, KSBW and KSBY, with a $35 million loan provided by her father. By quickly re-organising and re-selling them at a $12 million profit in 1995, Elisabeth emerged as an unexpected rival to her brothers for the eventual leadership of the publishing dynasty. But, after divorcing Pianim in 1998 and quarrelling publicly with her assigned mentor Sam Chisholm at BSkyB, she struck out on her own as a television and film producer in London. She has since enjoyed independent success, in conjunction with her second husband, Matthew Freud, the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud, whom she met in 1997 and married in 2001. [163]

It is not known how long Murdoch will remain as News Corporation's CEO. For a while the American cable television entrepreneur John Malone was the second-largest voting shareholder in News Corporation after Murdoch himself, potentially undermining the family's control. In 2007, the company announced that it would sell certain assets and give cash to Malone's company in exchange for its stock. In 2007, the company issued Murdoch's older children voting stock.[ citation needed ]

Murdoch has two children with Wendi Deng: Grace (b. New York, 19 November 2001) [23] and Chloe (b. New York, 17 July 2003). [144] [145] It was revealed in September 2011 that Tony Blair is Grace's godfather. [164] There is reported to be tension between Murdoch and his oldest children over the terms of a trust holding the family's 28.5% stake in News Corporation, estimated in 2005 to be worth about $6.1 billion. Under the trust, his children by Wendi Deng share in the proceeds of the stock but have no voting privileges or control of the stock. Voting rights in the stock are divided 50/50 between Murdoch on the one side and his children of his first two marriages. Murdoch's voting privileges are not transferable but will expire upon his death and the stock will then be controlled solely by his children from the prior marriages, although their half-siblings will continue to derive their share of income from it. It is Murdoch's stated desire to have his children by Deng given a measure of control over the stock proportional to their financial interest in it (which would mean, if Murdoch dies while at least one of the children is a minor, that Deng would exercise that control). It does not appear that he has any strong legal grounds to contest the present arrangement, and both ex-wife Anna and their three children are said to be strongly resistant to any such change. [165]

Portrayal on television, in film, books and music

Murdoch and rival newspaper and publishing magnate Robert Maxwell are thinly fictionalised as "Keith Townsend" and "Richard Armstrong" in The Fourth Estate by British novelist and former MP Jeffrey Archer. [166]

Murdoch has been portrayed by:

It was speculated that the character of Elliot Carver, the global media magnate and main villain in the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies , is based on Murdoch. The screenwriter of the film, Bruce Feirstein, stated that Carver was actually inspired by British press magnate Robert Maxwell, who was one of Murdoch's rivals. [168]

Whenever the Eagles drummer and lead singer Don Henley performs his 1981 hit solo release "Dirty Laundry", which directly criticizes what Henley sees as the news industry favoring style and sensationalism over substance and proper journalism, he says that he'd "like to dedicate this song to Mr. Rupert Murdoch." [169]

In the 1997 film Fierce Creatures , the head of Octopus Inc.'s Rod McCain (initials R.M.) character is likely modelled after Murdoch. [170]

In 1999, the Ted Turner owned TBS channel aired an original sitcom, The Chimp Channel . This featured an all-simian cast and the role of an Australian TV veteran named Harry Waller. The character is described as "a self-made gazillionaire with business interests in all sorts of fields. He owns newspapers, hotel chains, sports franchises and genetic technologies, as well as everyone's favourite cable TV channel, The Chimp Channel." Waller is thought to be a parody of Murdoch, a long-time rival of Turner. [171]

In 2004, the movie Outfoxed included many interviews accusing Fox News of pressuring reporters to report only one side of news stories, in order to influence viewers' political opinions. [172]

In 2012, the satirical show Hacks, broadcast on the UK's Channel 4, made obvious comparisons with Murdoch using the fictional character "Stanhope Feast", portrayed by Michael Kitchen, as well as other central figures in the phone hacking scandal. [173]

Influence, wealth and reputation

Murdoch accepting the Hudson Institute's 2015 Global Leadership Award in November Rupert Murdoch 2015.png
Murdoch accepting the Hudson Institute's 2015 Global Leadership Award in November

According to Forbes ' real time list of world's billionaires, Murdoch is the 34th richest person in the US and the 96th richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$13.1 billion as of February 2017. [174] In 2016, Forbes ranked "Rupert Murdoch & Family" as the 35th most powerful person in the world. [175] Later, in 2019, Rupert Murdoch & family were ranked 52nd in the Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires. [176]

In 2003 Murdoch bought "Rosehearty", an 11 bedroom home on a 5-acre waterfront estate in Centre Island, New York. [177]

In August 2013, Terry Flew, Professor of Media and Communications at Queensland University of Technology, wrote an article for the Conversation publication in which he verified a claim by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd that Murdoch owned 70% of Australian newspapers in 2011. Flew's article showed that News Corp Australia owned 23% of the nation's newspapers in 2011, according to the Finkelstein Review of Media and Media Regulation, but, at the time of the article, the corporation's titles accounted for 59% of the sales of all daily newspapers, with weekly sales of 17.3 million copies. [178]

In connection with Murdoch's testimony to the Leveson Inquiry "into the ethics of the British press", editor of Newsweek International , Tunku Varadarajan, referred to him as "the man whose name is synonymous with unethical newspapers". [179]

News Corp papers were accused of supporting the campaign of the Australian Liberal government and influencing public opinion during the 2013 federal election. Following the announcement of the Liberal Party victory at the polls, Murdoch tweeted "Aust. election public sick of public sector workers and phony welfare scroungers sucking life out of economy. Other nations to follow in time." [180]

In November 2015, former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said that Murdoch "arguably has had more impact on the wider world than any other living Australian". [181]

See also

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