Rupert Murdoch was famously dubbed “The Man Who Owns the News” by American journalist Michael Wolff in his 2008 book of the same name. Murdoch, who got into the newspaper business in the 1950s, became a major Hollywood executive in 1985 when he purchased Twentieth Century Fox from oilman Marvin Davis for $600 million. In 1986, Murdoch got into the TV business after he purchased several US television stations and created Fox Broadcasting.
Murdoch started the Fox broadcast network, the first to successfully challenge the Big Three of ABC, CBS and NBC, with shows like “The Simpsons.”
Through his company News Corp, he is the owner of hundreds of local, national, and international publishing outlets around the world, including in the UK (The Sun and The Times), in Australia (The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, and The Australian), in the US (The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post), book publisher HarperCollins, and the television broadcasting channels Sky News Australia and Fox News (through the Fox Corporation). He was also the owner of Sky (until 2018), 21st Century Fox (until 2019), and the now-defunct News of the World.
The 92-year-old billionaire and business tycoon stepped down as the chairman of Fox Corporation and News Corp on Thursday (today).
In this report, The PUNCH highlights 5 things you probably did not know about the millionaire media mogul
- Murdoch owned his first newspaper at the age of 21: Murdoch returned from Oxford aged 21 to run the family company when his father, Keith Murdoch, died of cancer in 1952. Murdoch revived The Adelaide News. He bought the troubled Sunday Times in Perth, Western Australia, and over the next few years acquired suburban and provincial newspapers in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and the Northern Territory, including the Sydney afternoon tabloid The Daily Mirror. He founded Australia’s first national newspaper, The Australian. After 15 years, he bought London’s News of the World in 1968, starting a multinational media conglomerate.
- He is one of the richest people in the world: Rupert Murdoch’s net worth is estimated to be around $17.4 billion (£14 billion). He first established a foothold in Australia and New Zealand by purchasing many newspapers there. These purchases allowed Rupert Murdoch to launch News Corporation and accumulate his huge fortune.
- He has been married four times: Murdoch has been married four times and has six children. In 1956, he married Australian Patricia Booker. They divorced 11 years later in 1967. In that same year, he married Scottish-born Anna Torv, a journalist who was working at The Daily Telegraph. They divorced in 1999. On 25 June 1999, 17 days later, Murdoch at aged 66 married Chinese-born Wendi Deng aged 30. She was a recent Yale School of Management graduate, and a newly appointed vice-president of his STAR TV. Murdoch filed for divorce from Wendi in June 2013, reaching a divorce settlement in November. Murdoch tied the knot with Jerry Hall, 59, in London on March 4, 2016. He was 84 at the time. On July 1, 2022, Hall filed for divorce, alleging “irreconcilable differences.”
- He had one of the most expensive divorces: Murdoch married Anna Torv in 1967. They separated in 1999 after 32 years of marriage. The reported $1.7 billion settlement paid to Anna Torv, together with an additional $110 million in cash, makes their divorce one of the most expensive in history.
- Failed social media experiment: Murdoch paid $580 million for MySpace in 2005, when the social networking site was at the height of its popularity. In 2006, MySpace expanded its video services, and Murdoch boasted that the site will surpass YouTube within 60 days. It didn’t go as planned as user numbers dropped instead of going up. The popularity of Facebook was the final nail to the coffin. This resulted in Murdoch selling Myspace in 2011 for $35 million.