Monday 23 October 2017

Murdoch and Deng seal divorce with a kiss

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, and wife Wendi Deng, departing New York State Supreme Court after a hearing in New York
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, and wife Wendi Deng, departing New York State Supreme Court after a hearing in New York
Wendi Deng and Rupert Murdoch who have finalised their divorce settlement
Rupert Murdoch
Ms Deng leaping to protect Mr Murdoch from a protester at the hacking inquiry in 2011. Reuters

Jon Swaine

Rupert Murdoch and his estranged wife, Wendi Deng, finalised a divorce settlement before parting amicably with a kiss.

The billionaire chairman of News Corporation and Ms Deng, his 44-year-old third wife, told a judge at New York supreme court in Manhattan that they had reached a deal to end their 14-year marriage.

EMBRACE

Declining to disclose the details of the agreement, they shared a brief embrace before announcing that they would proceed constructively for the benefit of their daughters Grace (12) and Chloe (10).

"We are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce," the couple said, in a statement released through a publicist.

"We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters."

Asked whether he was satisfied with the deal, which is based on prenuptial and postnuptial agreements they signed previously, Mr Murdoch (82) told Judge Ellen Gesmer: "Yes, your honour."

Mr Murdoch and his family have a $13.4bn (€9.97bn) fortune, according to 'Forbes' magazine, thanks largely to their holdings in News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, which are held in a family trust.

Mr Murdoch's control of the trust will be inherited when he dies by his four children from previous marriages – Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James – who currently benefit from it.

His daughters with Ms Deng are believed to have the same financial stakes in his companies, but hold no voting rights. This disparity is said to have caused tensions between the couple.

The Murdoch-owned 'Wall Street Journal' reported that Ms Deng, a Chinese-born businesswoman, would receive the Manhattan apartment they couple bought for $44m (€32.75m) in 2005.

The couple also owns properties in London, elsewhere in the US and in China.

Ms Deng, a graduate of Yale University, met Mr Murdoch in 1997 while working for his Star TV channel in Hong Kong. They married aboard his yacht in New York two years later.

SPOTLIGHT

Wendi Deng Murdoch literally leaped into the spotlight when she jumped up to smack a protester who was throwing a cream pie at her husband during a 2011 British parliamentary hearing into phone hacking by News Corp newspapers.

The couple had residences in New York, London, Beijing and elsewhere that were the subject of negotiations in their divorce.

The divorce will end a third marriage for Murdoch, who got his start in his family's newspaper business in his native Australia and built a global media conglomerate.

The divorce won't affect control of the companies or the succession plan for them. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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