Murdoch still sitting on massive multi-media empire

Rupert Murdoch (above, in 2014), who is to step down as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, the media-entertainment conglomerate, still sits at the top of a massive empire. -- PHOTO: AFP
Rupert Murdoch (above, in 2014), who is to step down as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, the media-entertainment conglomerate, still sits at the top of a massive empire. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Rupert Murdoch, who is to step down as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, the media-entertainment conglomerate, still sits at the top of a massive empire.

Murdoch, 84, is listed by Forbes magazine as number 77 in terms of global fortunes, with a net worth of US$13.5 billion (S$18 billion).

His world empire includes more than 100 newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, a vast cable network, broadcast and satellite television, a movie studio and a book publisher.

In August 2014, his iconic conglomerate, News Corporation, reported revenues for the fiscal year that ended on June 30 of US$8.57 billion, and core earnings of US$770 million.

An Australian who became a US citizen in 1985 to expand his media activities in the United States, Murdoch started in the newspaper business in the early 1950s after inheriting The Adelaide News from his father.

By the 1960s, the hard-charging Oxford-educated businessman was taking on the British press.

His conquests in Britain include mass market tabloid The Sun, establishment broadsheet The Times, and investigative trailblazer The Sunday Times.

News Corp also owns The Australian and a dozen other papers in Murdoch's native Australia, and the US tabloid New York Post.

In his biggest coup, Rupert Murdoch in 2007 won control of Dow Jones & Co and its prize asset, The Wall Street Journal, in a US$5.6 billion deal that redrew the US media landscape.

That transaction included the Hong-Kong based Far Eastern Economic Review.

While newspapers are Murdoch's passion, he has branched out over the years into television and movies.

In the United States, News Corp owns the 24-hour Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network while in Asia it controls the STAR network, and in Europe it owns or has stakes in "Sky" branded satellite networks serving Britain, Germany and Italy.

The National Geographic Channel belongs to the Fox Entertainment Group as well, as do many television stations and broadcasting networks.

Another Murdoch jewel is the Hollywood film studio 20th Century Fox, producer of such global blockbusters as the Star Wars series, Ice Age and Avatar.

Finally, News Corp also owns the book publisher HarperCollins and a raft of educational, marketing, Internet and real-estate activities.