Rupert Murdoch, Wife Agree to Divorce Settlement in N.Y.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp. (NWSA), agreed to a settlement that will complete a divorce from his third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, after 14 years of marriage.
Rupert Murdoch, 82, who also serves as chief executive officer of Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) Inc., filed for divorce in June. The couple has a prenuptial agreement, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Wendi Murdoch will keep the couple’s Fifth Avenue residence in New York as part of the settlement, according to the person, who requested anonymity because speaking publicly wasn’t authorized. The couple has two daughters, Grace, 12, and Chloe, 10, who live in New York.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce,” the couple said in a joint statement. “We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters. We will not comment on this any further.”
Rupert Murdoch said in papers filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan that the relationship had “broken down irretrievably.” The couple appeared before Justice Ellen Gesmer in Manhattan today. They have 60 days to complete the settlement or must return to court in January. Gesmer said she didn’t anticipate that would be necessary.
“I’m glad you have been able to resolve these matters amicably,” the judge said. No additional terms of the settlement were revealed. The couple shook hands before the hearing and briefly embraced afterward.
Wendi Murdoch, 37 years younger than her husband, made headlines in 2011 for physically defending him when he gave testimony at a Parliament hearing over a hacking scandal at his U.K. newspapers. She lunged at a man who had tried to throw a pie in Murdoch’s face.
The two were married in 1999, weeks after Rupert’s divorce from his previous wife. His first marriage, to Patricia Booker, ended in 1965. Two years later, he married a reporter at one of his newspapers, Anna Torv, and had three children, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James, all of whom have figured prominently at one point in the workings of his company.
Murdoch’s net worth is $12.5 billion, making him the world’s 89th-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Most of Murdoch’s wealth comes from his family’s trust, in which all his children, including Grace and Chloe, have an economic stake. The older children also have a voting stake.
Wendi, 44, met Rupert when she was a junior executive at his Star TV division in Hong Kong. She attended California State University at Northridge and graduated from Yale University’s graduate business program before joining News Corp.
Her interest in film led her to produce “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” which was distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures in 2011. She is a trustee of the American Film Institute and an investor in Artsy, a digital-arts startup, according to the company’s website.
The settlement comes near the end of a troubling year for Rupert Murdoch, following the split of News Corp. into two units at the end of June amid a telephone-hacking scandal.
More than 100 journalists and public officials have been arrested in investigations of News Corp. newspapers starting in 2011 that have produced allegations of phone hacking and bribery. Murdoch shut down the News of the World in July 2011 in a bid to defuse the scandal.
Shares of News Corp. rose 1.1 percent to $17.67 today in New York. They have risen 12 percent since the split. Fox, which has gained 16 percent since the division, was little changed at $33.12.
The case is Murdoch v. Murdoch, 307226/2013, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan.)