Murdoch Bequeaths His Empire to Firstborn Quartet

26 July 2006

Speaking Monday to US Public Broadcasting Service interviewer Charlie Rose, News Corporation chairman/ceo Rupert Murdoch revealed that only the children from his first two marriages will control the media family's trust after his death.

"If I go under a bus tomorrow, it will be the four of them [that] will have to decide which of the ones should lead them," Murdoch said.

Seeking clarification Rose asked: "If something happens to you . . . [if you're] run over by a bus when you leave this studio, the four kids have to decide who will be the heir apparent?"

Murdoch replied: "In terms of power, yes; in terms of leadership. They'll all get treated equally financially."

The thrice-married tycoon has four children from his two first marriages - Prudence, Elisabeth from his first union; Lachlan and James from the second. His third wife, Wendi Deng, former vp of Business Affairs at NewsCorp's Hong Kong satellite television operation Star TV, has two young daughters - Grace and Chloe.

Unsurprisingly, relations between the three family factions have been on the frigid side of cool in recent years. It is unlikely they will thaw in the light of this latest revelation.

Murdoch was also surprising frank about the influence he exerts on political decision-making, especially as he has always denied instructing his editors on their political stance. The tycoon, whose political puppeteering is no secret, referred to UK prime minister Tony Blair in imperious terms.

"Right now we [Murdoch's newspapers] are giving [Blair]a bad time," he said. "We've supported him, but we fought him pretty hard on Europe. We said, stay away from there. He's come around."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff