1. Money matters
October 17, 2018updated 18 Oct 2018 4:27pm

Murdoch children to become world’s youngest billionaires after Fox-Disney deal

By Oliver Williams

Each of Rupert Murdoch’s children is set to receive at least $2bn from the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney, making two of them the new world’s youngest billionaires.

At $71.3bn, the sale is one of the biggest media deals in history.

However, at least 17% of the revenue will go directly to the children of Rupert Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s owner.

The Murdoch Family Trust will make around $12bn from the deal based on the $38 a share that Disney agreed to pay in June this year.

World’s youngest billionaires-to-be

The direct beneficiaries of the trust are Rupert Murdoch’s six children, including those of his ex-wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, Grace and Chloe who are aged 17 and 15 respectively.

According to the FT, Grace and Chloe have no voting shares in the trust and have trustees to manage their stakes. One such trustee was Ivanka Trump, who stepped down after her father was elected US president in 2016.

The Fox-Disney deal is still pending regulatory approval, but if Murdoch’s youngest daughters were to inherit their entitled $2bn, they would immediately become the world’s youngest billionaires.

According to Forbes, the current holders of that title are Alexandra and Katharina Andresen who are 21 and 22 years old respectively.

In another record-breaking inheritance windfall, the two sisters were instantly labelled billionaires, at $1.4bn each, when their father, Johan H Andreson, transferred his ownership of Ferd to them in 2007. Ferd is the Norwegian Andreson’s family investment firm, which owns stakes in a number of Scandinavian manufacturing, finance and tech firms.

More Murdoch billionaires in the making

The other Murdoch children set to benefit from the $12bn held by Murdoch Family Trust are from his earlier marriages and are therefore excluded from any ‘world’s youngest’ title.

Murdoch’s two sons, Lachlan and James, are currently active in the running of their father’s enterprises. James is the 21st Century Fox’s chief executive and Lachlan the chairman and chief executive of New Fox, a new entity set up to control those assets of 21st Century Fox not sold to Disney, including Fox News.

James and Lachlan will receive more than their allotted $2bn. As soon as news of the acquisition was announced they both saw huge salary rises at 21st Century Fox: Lachlan from $20.6m to $50.7m and James from $20.3m to $50.3m.

Murdoch’s other daughters, Prudence and Elisabeth, have less active roles at their father’s companies. Prudence has held various director roles at News Corporation, a media firm owned by her father separate to 21st Century Fox. Elisabeth founded a TV production company called Shine but quit after it was merged with 21st Century Fox.

As well as the cash windfall from the Fox-Disney deal, all eyes will be on Murdoch’s appointed successor. There is currently speculation that Lachlan might be chosen over James to manage the outstanding assets of Rupert Murdoch when he finally retires. There could be further family feuds yet.