Each of Rupert Murdoch’s children are set to receive at least $2 billion from the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney. This record-breaking transfer of wealth will make them the world’s youngest billionaires.
At $71.3 billion, the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney is one of the biggest media deals in history, but it is also set to break records in inheritance.
At least 17% of the revenue from the deal will go directly to the children of Rupert Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s owner via the Murdoch Family Trust.
The UK registered 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 husband was elected US president in 2016. (Tony Blair is also a godfather to Grace.)
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.