US media mogul Rupert Murdoch hands over business to son Lachlan

As of: November 15, 2023 10:17 a.m

End of a media era: Trump friend Rupert Murdoch steps down as head of the Fox Group and the publisher News Corp. back. His son Lachlan takes over. What’s next for Fox News – one year before the US election?

Since September 21st it has been clear: Rupert Murdoch, at the age of 92, is making room for his son Lachlan. The media mogul announced this in writing. Pointing out that the Fox Group and News Corp are doing well, as is he himself. But it is time for other roles. Until now, Murdoch had always brushed off questions about a possible withdrawal.

The journalist Andrew Neill worked with him for years in London. After the announcement of the generational change, he said on the US broadcaster CNN: “The companies – both the newspaper division and the television side – are treading water.” They were still making money, but Murdoch could no longer do business. The company has shrunk. That’s why he thought it was time to hand over, says Neill: Let’s see how Lachlan does.

20 billion dollars Enterprise value

The eldest son becomes sole chairman of News Corp., which includes the Wall Street Journal and other print and digital media. He remains executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation. Forbes magazine estimates the empire is worth more than $20 billion.

Ian D’Souza, professor of finance at the Stern School of Business in New York, doesn’t want to commit to numbers. For him, the value of a media company lies in how quickly it can react to trends and demands: “With the sale of the entertainment division to the Disney Group a few years ago, the Fox Group committed itself to live sports and live news.” Because “live” is irreplaceable.

D’Souza therefore sees Lachlan Murdoch’s task as ensuring that the values ​​of the Fox Group do not disappear under his hand. He should concentrate on that.

Lachlan is considered a conservative

There was a heated dispute between the Murdochs about the succession to the throne. The whole thing even provided material for the series “Succession”. But after his brother James left the company around three years ago, the slightly older Lachlan was confirmed as crown prince. The Princeton graduate has worked in various positions in the company, was also self-employed in private radio for several years and is considered politically conservative.

In the 2016 presidential election campaign, Rupert Murdoch supported Republican Donald Trump. At an event the following year, both made no secret of their friendship, which was at least professionally lucrative.

Fox News essentially became Trump’s house channel. This became a problem in the wake of its election defeat in 2020: it was only in the spring that the broadcaster had to pay almost $790 million to a manufacturer of voting machines in a settlement. Fox hosts had spread Trump’s baseless allegations of election manipulation.

At Trump’s side again?

There will be another election in the USA in a year. Trump is currently the most promising candidate for the Republican nomination. D’Souza assumes that Fox News will clearly support a candidate this time too. He believes that the integration will occur again: “If I understand the economic value and the reasons for selling the entertainment division and focusing more on live content, I am of the opinion: Yes. There will definitely be a revival,” said he. “To what extent would it reach 2016 levels and beyond? I don’t know. But do I think it will grow? Yes.”

It is questionable from where Lachlan Murdoch will direct the business. His family lives in Australia, he has often been to the Fox headquarters in California, but most of the editorial staff work in New York. In other words, where his father lives most of the time. Although he will no longer play a role in everyday business, he will always be a force to be reckoned with, as he has already announced.

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