Meet the Murdochs, the Last News Dynasty

6 children compete for affection and business, writes Wolff
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2008 8:24 AM CST
Australian businessman Lachlan Murdoch, son of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, arrives at Kirribilli House in Sydney, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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(Newser) – In an age of MBA-holding executives and shareholder revolts, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is that rarest thing: a business dynasty. The media mogul's six children, by three different wives, have conducted their power plays in public and private. But as Michael Wolff writes in Vanity Fair, while the elder Murdochs have accepted their young siblings' claim to Rupert's fortune, they're keeping News Corp. for themselves.

Prue, the eldest at 50, is the "family wingnut," but ambitious James, easygoing Lachlan and entrepreneurial Elisabeth have all at one time seemed Rupert's chosen heir. The simmering feud with their stepmother Wendi—who Wolff says is "not Becky Sharp, she's Pip in Great Expectations"—ended only when Rupert used a TV interview to spell out his children's inheritance. But for all its troubles, the Murdoch family provided Rupert with something critical: a dynasty that helped him justify his takeover of the Wall Street Journal from that "unwieldy lot of cousins," the Bancrofts.