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Keith Rupert Murdoch AC KCSG (born March 11, 1931) is an American billionaire businessman, media mogul, and investor who was born in Australia. He owns hundreds of local, national, and international publishing outlets around the world through his company News Corp, including The Sun and The Times in the United Kingdom, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, and The Australian in Australia, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post in the United States, book publisher HarperCollins, and television broadcasting channels Sky News Australia and FX in the United States (through the Fox Corporation). He also owned Sky (until 2018), 21st Century Fox (until 2019), and the now-defunct News of the World (until 2018). His father trained him to take over the family company while he worked part-time at the Melbourne Herald. Murdoch studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Worcester College in Oxford, England, where he was nicknamed as “Red Rupert” for keeping a bust of Lenin in his room. He was a member of the Oxford University Labour Party, ran for Secretary of the Labour Club, and oversaw Cherwell’s publishing business, Oxford Student Publications Limited. His mother Elisabeth conducted charitable work as life governor of the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne after his father died of cancer in 1952, and she founded the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. She had 74 grandchildren when she died in 2011 at the age of 102.
Murdoch returned from Oxford after his father’s death, when he was 21, to take over what was left of the family company. What was left after his father’s Herald share was liquidated to pay taxes was News Limited, which had been founded in 1923. 16 Rupert Murdoch’s primary asset, the Adelaide daily The News, became a huge success. He began to focus on acquisition and expansion, purchasing the troubled Sunday Times in Perth, Western Australia (1956) and acquiring suburban and provincial newspapers in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and the Northern Territory over the next few years, including The Daily Mirror, a Sydney afternoon tabloid (1960). Murdoch’s first venture outside of Australia was the purchase of a controlling position in The Dominion, a New Zealand newspaper. Murdoch read about a takeover offer for the Wellington paper by Lord Thomson of Fleet, a British-based Canadian newspaper tycoon, while visiting New Zealand with friends in a leased Morris Minor after sailing across the Tasman in January 1964. He launched a counter-bid on the heat of the moment. A four-way fight for control ensued, with the 32-year-old Murdoch emerging victorious. Murdoch later founded The Australian, Australia’s first national daily newspaper, in 1964, with offices in Canberra and Sydney. Murdoch bought The Daily Telegraph, a Sydney morning newspaper, from Australian media magnate Sir Frank Packer in 1972, who subsequently regretted giving it to him. Murdoch was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 1984 for his contributions to publishing. Murdoch considerably extended his music holdings in Australia in 1999 by acquiring a majority interest in Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Records, a renowned Australian independent label; he combined it with Festival Records to become Festival Mushroom Records (FMR). For some years, Murdoch’s son James Murdoch oversaw both Festival and FMR. Sir John McEwen, head of the Australian Country Party (now known as the National Party of Australia), who was ruling in partnership with the bigger Menzies-Holt-Gorton Liberal Party, became Murdoch’s political friend. Murdoch began supporting McEwen’s side in every issue that split the long-serving coalition partners from the first issue of The Australian. (First issue of The Australian, 15 July 1964, top page: “Strain in Cabinet, Liberal-CP feud erupts.”) It was an issue that threatened to destabilise the coalition government, allowing the stronger Australian Labor Party to take control of the country’s politics. It was the start of a protracted effort that paid off for McEwen. Following the retirement of McEwen and Menzies, Murdoch threw his growing clout behind Gough Whitlam’s Australian Labor Party, which was duly elected on a social platform that included universal free health care, free tertiary education for all Australians, recognition of the People’s Republic of China, and public ownership of Australia’s oil, gas, and mineral resources. Rupert Murdoch’s support for Whitlam was just temporary. Murdoch had previously launched his short-lived National Star newspaper in the United States and was looking to enhance his political ties in the country.
Murdoch first entered the British newspaper industry in 1968, when he bought the populist News of the World, then in 1969, he bought the failing daily The Sun from IPC. Murdoch converted The Sun to a tabloid format and cut expenses by publishing both newspapers on the same press. When he bought it, he named Albert ‘Larry’ Lamb as editor and instructed him, “I want a tearaway paper with lots of tits in it,” as Lamb subsequently remembered. In 1997, The Sun had a daily readership of ten million people. Murdoch bought the ailing Times and Sunday Times from Lord Thomson of Fleet, a Canadian newspaper owner, in 1981. Lord Thomson, who had become tired of losing money on The Times as a result of a protracted period of strike action that halted publishing, gave him ownership of the newspaper. The owners thought that Murdoch could turn the newspaper around because of his success and expansion at The Sun. Harold Evans, who had been editor of the Sunday Times since 1967, was transferred to the daily Times, however he only remained for a year due to editorial disagreements with Murdoch. Murdoch began using electronic manufacturing techniques in his newspapers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States in 1986. Because of the increased automation, the number of personnel participating in the printing process has decreased significantly. The decision enraged the print unions in the United Kingdom, culminating in a protracted and frequently violent battle in Wapping, one of London’s docklands, where Murdoch had constructed the newest electronic newspaper purpose-built publishing facility in an old warehouse. The tumultuous Wapping conflict began with the firing of 6,000 strike-breaking employees, sparking street brawls and protests. The CMA prohibited Murdoch from acquiring the remaining 61 percent of BSkyB that he did not already control in January 2018, citing concerns about market dominance that may lead to media control. The CMA eventually accepted his bid for BSkyB on the condition that he sell Sky News to The Walt Disney Company, which was already in the process of acquiring 21st Century Fox. Comcast, on the other hand, acquired ownership of BSkyB in a CMA-ordered blind auction. Murdoch eventually sold Comcast his 39 percent stake in BSkyB. The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Channel Islands, and Virgin Islands all have News Corporation subsidiaries. News Corporation’s yearly tax bill has been about 7% of its income since 1986.
Personal Profile of Rupert Murdoch
- Name: Rupert Murdoch
- Date of Birth: 11 March 1931
- Age: 90 years
- Birth Sign: Pisces
- Nationality: Australian & American
- Parents: Keith Murdoch, Elisabeth Greene
- Siblings: Anne Kantor, Janet Calvert-Jones, Helen Handbury
- Birth Place/City: Melbourne, Australia
- Profession: Businessman
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