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Monday 19 February 2018

Murdochs poised to finalise divorce

Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng Murdoch will appear in court to finalise their divorce. (AP/John Shearer/Invision)
Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng Murdoch will appear in court to finalise their divorce. (AP/John Shearer/Invision)

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's divorce from his wife of 14 years is nearly final and the sides are close to amicably resolving the matter, a source said, as the couple prepare to go to court today.

Mr Murdoch, 82, and his wife Wendi Deng Murdoch will appear in a New York court to formalise the agreement, the source said.

The divorce will not alter the succession plan for the pair of media companies that Mr Murdoch controls through a family trust - 21st Century Fox and the recently spun-off publishing company News Corp.

Mrs Murdoch, 44, is not a shareholder, according to the source. Their two school-age children, Grace and Chloe, are beneficiaries of 8.7 million non-voting shares being held in a separate trust.


The family trust benefits Mr Murdoch's elder children by previous marriages - Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James. All of them except Prudence have an active role in the companies and upon Rupert Murdoch's death, each will have an equal say in what happens to the roughly 38% voting stock the trust holds in both companies.

Forbes pegged Mr Murdoch and his family's wealth at 13.4 billion dollars (£8.3bn) in September.

The divorce settlement is largely based on two prenuptial agreements and two "postnuptial" agreements that modified the original agreements, the source said. It is not likely to reach the monetary value of Rupert Murdoch's previous divorce settlement with his second wife, Anna Torv. That settlement reportedly cost Mr Murdoch 1.7 billion dollars (£664m).

He shares homes in New York, London, Beijing and elsewhere with Wendi Deng Murdoch that are the subject of negotiations.

Born in China, Wendi Deng Murdoch is a Yale graduate who worked as a junior executive at News Corp's subsidiary, Star TV, in Hong Kong, where she met her now-husband at a 1997 cocktail party.

She left Star TV before marrying the Australian-born tycoon in June 1999 aboard Mr Murdoch's private yacht, in New York.

She produced the 2011 movie Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, released by News Corp's Fox Searchlight.

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

This year, News Corp, the newspaper and publishing company, separated from its more profitable entertainment arm, 21st Century Fox. Both are publicly traded and based in New York.


Press Association

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