Murdoch Gets a Jewel. Who'll Get His Crown?

John Corn

The Coach / Supporter
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Sep 6, 2003
North Canton, Ohio.
RUPERT MURDOCH, the chairman of the News Corporation, has been trying to buy or build an American satellite television business for 20 years, a campaign that sometimes appeared to be his life's work.

Last week, he finally succeeded, buying control of Hughes Electronics and its DirecTV satellite service for $6.6 billion. But his hard-won victory now raises questions for Mr. Murdoch, who is 72, and for the company.

Mr. Murdoch now needs to make DirecTV justify the years and billions spent in its pursuit. With the last piece in place, Mr. Murdoch needs to prove that the vast contraption of Hollywood studios, broadcast and cable channels, satellite systems and newspapers that he has assembled will run smoothly and profitably, even after he is no longer behind the wheel.

He has made it no secret that he would like to pass the company's top job to one of his children who have worked for the company: Lachlan, 32, James, 30, or, as he volunteered in an interview 10 days ago, perhaps Elisabeth, 35. To outsiders, the succession question has the makings of captivating corporate soap opera. And, in November, the plot took an unforeseen twist when James Murdoch was named the chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting, of which the News Corporation owns a 0ne-third stake. To many investors and Murdoch watchers, that suggested that James Murdoch might have overtaken his older brother, Lachlan, as the Murdoch heir to watch.

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