Family Fortunes at Clan Murdoch

28 August 2007

SYDNEY: They take an interest Down Under in Murdochiana. Driven by a mix of pride at the local lad's success and resentment at his commercially-driven renunciation of his Australian nationality, Oz media keep a close eye on the former Melbourne dynasty.

The Sydney Morning Herald is no exception. And not for nothing are Aussies fondly known as 'diggers'.

Thanks to the newspaper's delving into recent filings with America's Securities & Exchange Commission, it emerges that the third Mrs Rupert Murdoch (aka former employee Wendi Deng) collected a fee of US$83,000 (€60.83k; £41.22k) for "advising" on the development of hubby's Chinese MySpace social-networking website.

She is also on the receiving end of fees totalling $100,000 annually and has been granted options on over 2.5% of the fully diluted shares of MySpace China, of which she is now a director.

In addition to Mrs M's little windfalls, the magnate's daughter Elisabeth, who runs British TV production company SMS TV, benefits from a $300,000 annual production contract with News Corporation.

Nor is her husband Matthew Freud overlooked. His PR shop Freud International gets "approximately" $500,000 yearly from NewsCorp for "external support to the press and publicity activities".

All of which recalls the famed US billboard campaign that ran through the 1950s, straplined "The family that prays together stays together."

Remove the first 'r' from that noble slogan and the outcome (if not the activity) remains the same.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff