Murdoch: The man who changed the media
October 2, 2023 - After a seven-decade career during which he created a media empire stretching from Australia to the UK and the U.S., Rupert Murdoch, 92, has stepped down as chairman of Fox and News Corp.
His son, Lachlan Murdoch, has become the chairman of News Corp and continues as the chair and CEO of Fox, the companies said on September 21.
That move ends an era in which the billionaire has influenced media and politics on three continents. Politicians from Margaret Thatcher to Donald Trump have sought the approval of Murdoch media, including The Sun, The Australian and America’s Fox News cable news channel.
“He inspired admiration and loathing, but no one doubted he was the most potent force in the media,” said Geordie Greig, editor-in-chief of The Independent, who worked for Murdoch titles in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Murdoch family trust controls roughly 40 per cent of the voting shares in both Fox and News Corp. Those votes are now shared equally between his four children from his first two marriages: Prudence, 65; Elisabeth, 55; Lachlan, 52; and James, 50, Murdoch’s youngest children, Grace, 22, and Chloe, 20, have no votes.
The four will inherit an empire now far smaller than in its heyday. Murdoch sold most of 21st Century Fox to Disney for $54.2 billion in 2019. Even so, his remaining properties, from The Wall Street Journal to HarperCollins, the book publisher, ensure that his influence remains.
In April this year, Fox settled a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million, averting a trial which would have exposed Fox to falsely claiming the voting machine company had rigged the 2020 presidential election.
Fox still faces a lawsuit from voting technology firm Smartmatic, which in 2021 sued Fox for $2.7 billion over similar claims.
- Meet Lachlan Murdoch, soon to be the new power behind Fox News and the Murdoch empire (Associated Press)
- The audacious deals that built the Murdoch empire ( Australian Financial Review)
- Murdoch Gambles on Satellite TV (New York Times)
- What's next for Fox as Rupert Murdoch hands reins to Lachlan (Reuters)