Rupert Murdoch has tightened his family’s grip on his two new companies, News Corp which is based on newspapers including The Times, the Wall Street Journal and most of the papers in Australia, and film and TV business 21st Century Fox, by bringing eldest son Lachlan back into the fold as non-executive chairman of both businesses.
Lachlan, 42, left the business some years ago to try his luck as an independent entrepreneur in Australia, without much success it must be said. He has resigned as executive chairman of Australia’s Ten Network although he still owns 8.8 per cent.
At the same time younger brother James (right), who narrowly escaped being implicated in the News of the World phone hacking scandal, currently wending its way through the courts in London, has been named as co-chief operating officer of News Corp although he will still oversee the Sky and Star pay-TV networks outside the UK and be in charge of Fox Networks.
So the two younger Murdochs will have key roles in not one but two huge Murdoch-dominated media companies (the Murdochs own a majority of voting shares in the two-tier share structures). Let’s hope they still get on.
There’s no role in this family dinner party for daughter Elizabeth, who may be out of favour after her withering criticisms of former News International boss Rebekah Brooks, who is one of those charged with phone hacking and other alleged misdemeanours.
Meanwhile COO Chase Carey, who is not a Murdoch, soldiers on although a well-paid exit is surely on the cards.
What should shareholders make of this? Well anyone buying into News or Fox knows the deal and the may even regard the younger Murdochs as a better bet than dad, who seems to have lost his magic touch in recent years; buying MySpace and the Wall Street Journal (among others) for wildly inflated sums.
It’s good to see that family values still reign supreme in some corners of the media world.