There were more credible reasons for the
departure of young Lachlan Murdoch from the bosom of his father and the
family company this morning. A good, well argued, speculative story by
Martin Peers about the Murdoch clan and its control over News Corp
appeared in TheWall Street Journal and was republished in the Sydney Morning Herald today. The story also featured on the front page of the Financial Review today.

Good to see the byline of Peers, the former Communist Party journo and AFR reporter,
who’s driving coverage of the Murdoch family in New York. The story
raises a couple of interesting options for Lachlan when he returns to
Sydney. First off, there’s the “revenge of the nerds” approach that
sees him taking his shares and throwing his lot in with John Malone.
Even if he can’t vote his shares directly, he (and sister, Elisabeth)
could represent a strong anti-Dad linking with Malone.

But what
about a job? Well, there’s a hands on role for a competent media
manager with some TV experience at the Nine Network at Willoughby.
Lachlan and James Packer are sort of linked because they’ll both be
appearing at the One.Tel court case in Sydney. Remember how both lost
their fathers the best part of $400 million each in backing Jodee Rich
and his mad cap phone company that crashed and burned in 2001?

Then
there’s the Nine Network link to Lachlan through PBL’s TV boss, Sam
Chisholm – he knows the Murdoch family and Lachlan very well. So you
read it here first! Add Lachlan to your list of wannabes for the big
job at Nine. It’s probably got about as much credibility as that other
departed favourite son, David Gyngell, popping up as CEO of Network Ten
after he slammed the door in Kerry Packer’s face.

Dummy spits by media sons seems to be all the rage at the moment. Sadly
for James Packer, he can’t do it because Kerry controls the entire
family fortune and doesn’t even pay his son a wage for running PBL.

At least Lachlan has pocketed almost $25 million in salary and options
profits over the years and has his mother’s divorce settlement to
ensure he’ll become a billionaire one day, even if his share is watered
down by his father’s desire to give his infant children an equal slice
of the pie.

Peter Fray

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