I would like to be remembered, if I am remembered at all, as being a catalyst for change in the world, change for good.
– Rupert Murdoch
In 1952, a 21-year-old Rupert Murdoch inherited Australia’s News Limited from his father, Keith Murdoch. This significant event not only created one of the wealthiest dynasties, but it also established the now 82-year-old media mogul as one of the most important businessmen in modern media history. His personal life, however, reads more like a Danielle Steel novel than a Wall Street trade paper.
Credited with the second most expensive divorce on record, Murdoch once again fell on this tragic sword when he filed for divorce yesterday from Wendi Deng – his wife of 14 years. Their Shakespearean romance began in 1997, when Murdoch met Deng at a company party in Hong Kong. They were married two years later, only 17 days after Murdoch’s divorce from Anna Murdoch was finalised. Deng became a key player in Murdoch’s News Corp when she introduced him “to a younger, more tech-savvy set of friends including the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey.” As a Yale graduate, Deng managed to create a persona for herself as a strong businesswoman, mother, and socialite.
The news of the couple’s failing marriage shocked Murdoch’s analysts and watchers. Michael Wolff, Murdoch’s biographer, said, “I was totally surprised. Everyone is trying to figure it out. I think he genuinely loved her. Everyone is wondering what went wrong.”
However, this is not the only split Murdoch has to deal with.
According to The Guardian, “The split came on the same day as another moment of epochal change for Murdoch. The News Corporation empire that he built from a single newspaper in Adelaide is to be split in two and Wednesday was the day that the company set out the timetable for trading to begin in the two new companies – one focused on his Fox film and television stations and a second, bearing the News Corp name, housing his newspapers, including the Sun and the Times.”
Several analysts claim that the News International hacking scandal – which resulted in arrests and lawsuits – was the key mechanism in Murdoch’s current fall from grace. However, News Corp insiders said the divorce won’t have an impact on business.
Murdoch’s first chapter opened with a naïve 21-year-old walking the bleached beaches of Australia’s coasts. Today, 61 years later, this icon’s final, tragic sentence reads, “Goodbye, my love.”
And so his novel ends.
Rupert Murdoch, his wife Wendi and their kids Chloe and Grace enjoying some time on his yacht while on vacation in St Barts on March 20, 2013. Joining the Murdoch family is ‘Les Miserables’ director Tom Hooper
Photo Credit: FameFlynet