Real-life 'Succession' as Lachlan Murdoch solidifies perch atop Fox and News Corp.

Meg James, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Lachlan Murdoch has long shared his famous father's enthusiasm for right-leaning politics and the news business, including the family's vast portfolio of newspapers — even as the industry was ravaged by internet search engines and shunned by investors.

But he also has a sentimental streak.

When Rupert Murdoch decided to unload much of the entertainment assets he had spent decades building, investment bankers advised the clan of ruthlessly bottom line-focused media moguls to include the real estate — the company's legendary movie studio lot in Century City — as part of the deal.

Lachlan Murdoch said no. He felt the lot was the beating heart of the company on the West Coast, one steeped in Hollywood history. Besides, he sensed the Century City land would only grow in value, a belief that has proved true (it's worth billions).

Now, the 52-year-old executive is firmly presiding over the empire his father built — encompassing the most influential conservative media institutions in America — from an office suite on the L.A. studio lot.

Fox Corp. and News Corp. on Thursday announced Rupert Murdoch was stepping down from his executive role at the two media companies and that Lachlan would succeed him atop the two companies. The changes take effect in November.


Lachlan Murdoch becomes the sole chairman of News Corp., the publishing company that owns the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, and executive chairman of Fox, the television arm that includes Fox News, Fox Sports and the Fox broadcast network. Because Lachlan Murdoch has been at the helm as Fox's chief executive since March 2019, and because he is exceedingly close to his father, analysts expect the son's strategy to largely reflect the father's.

"Lachlan is probably the most aligned with his father in terms of politics and in terms of his vision of the business," Paul Verna, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said. "There's not a lot of daylight between the two men."

Lachlan Murdoch has previously said the political bent of Fox News, which has made the network a lightning rod, will remain.

Fox documents from late 2020 and early 2021, revealed in the course of high-profile and devastating litigation, underscored the tight collaboration between the two Murdochs. The pair were involved in overseeing Fox News' coverage of President Trump and his false statements that the 2020 election was stolen from him, which proved costly for the company. In April, Fox agreed to pay $787 million to Dominion Voting Systems to avoid a trial over defamation claims.


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