Media mogul Rupert Murdoch will step down as head of News Corp and Fox Corporation and hand over to his son Lachlan, in the most significant disruption the companies have faced in decades.
At 92, the news and television baron has held on to the reins of the family company longer than most expected, while dynasty watchers speculated on the succession.
Murdoch is calling an end to what is more an era than a career in media ownership, one that started in 1952.
That was when a 21-year-old Rupert, with newspaper ink already running in his veins, inherited The News in Adelaide from his father Keith, and soon began expanding in Australia and then Britain. He would continue his remarkable rise to own some of the major titles in the world.
Today his empire includes The Australian and all capital city tabloids in Australia, The Sun, The Times and the Sky network in the UK, and the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Fox News and Fox Sports in the US.
Murdoch's announcement that he would be quitting, sent to staff in the US where his companies are based overnight Australian time, was hardly welcomed by News Corp investors. The company's stock continued its slide on Wall Street from the year-long highs reached in earlier this month.
Shares in Fox Corporation, however, were up 1.4 per cent. News Corp Australia, which owns its domestic mastheads, is fully owned by the US parent company.
Lachlan Murdoch, 52, will become chairman of News Corp. He is already CEO and executive chairman at Fox. Murdoch Sr will remain as "chairman emeritus", an honorary position.
Some News Corp shareholders have over years agitated for change at the top but Rupert had held on firmly, aided by the family's large shareholding and News Corp's unique share structure.
It is unlikely Lachlan Murdoch, who has been intimately involved in running the empire for several years, will depart far from the familiar path. Some suggest he is even more politically conservative than his father.
For some years there had been an apparent succession battle between Lachlan, younger brother and former television executive James Murdoch, and sister and Endemol Shine founder Elisabeth Murdoch.
It was clear James would be out of the running in 2020 when he quit the News board in the UK and criticised the empire's editorial direction, particularly on climate change, where Murdoch outlets have often favoured sceptics over scientific consensus. Speaking out against the company's politics is not how it's done at News.
Some of Murdoch's outlets are criticised for bias or slanted coverage in support the business and right-wing political interests of he and his friends or allies. But for decades his enormous success in tabloid media had made him a kingmaker in politics, in the UK, the USA and in Australia.
Rupert Murdoch's final decade in charge has not seen his companies covered in glory, after much focus being turned on his management, political leanings, and the legitimacy of some of its news output.
In the United States Fox has to pay out $1.2 billion after enduring a damaging defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems, who blamed the company's Fox News cable channel for airing false claims voting in the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
Fox News had become a world leader in reporting news not according to the journalistic traditions of neutrality, but led by a heavy conservative bias which either reflected, for commercial benefit, or led the views of its audience.
It became hugely successful but the Dominion case revealed Fox hosts being admonished for reporting facts rather than what Trump-loving views wanted to hear - particularly regarding Donald Trump's defeat and subsequent false claims of election fraud. Unpopular facts were bad for business, was the message heard as internal company texts were read out in court.
In Australia Sky News' "after dark" smorgasbord of conservative commentators has attempted a similar opinion-heavy lineup but without enjoying similar levels of popularity.
In Australia the Murdochs had to pay $1.3 million in legal costs after a failed bid to sue independent news website Crikey over suggestions Fox News shared the blame for the storming of the US Capitol building following Trump's defeat.
Murdoch mastheads led by the Australian have been accused of waging vendettas against individuals identified as enemies, including supporters of the Yes vote on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.
A campaign for a Royal Commission into Murdoch media has been going along but never looked likely to win mainstream political support.
But it was the 2011 scandal, when London tabloid newspaper (Murdoch's first UK paper) The News of the World was disgraced, and then closed, after evidence of phone hacking by employees and contractors was revealed, which produced the worst humiliation for the mogul whose autobiography dubbed him the "Sun King".
Murdoch's more successful tabloid The Sun faced fresh allegations of hacking last year, with its publisher setting aside STG127 million to cover the costs of phone hacking court cases.
Since Rupert Murdoch time Murdoch has started and ended four marriages, has six children, with his first three wives Patricia Booker, Anna Murdoch Mann and Wendi Murdoch.
His marriage to Jerry Hall ended last year.
Rupert Murdoch is a US national having given up his Australian citizenship in 1985 so he could comply with laws over US television network ownership.
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