news corp
Rupert Murdoch

The Murdoch men — Rupert, Lachlan and James — more than doubled their take from 21st Century Fox in 2017-18, with their collective remuneration surging from US$70.2 million or just over AU$97 million, to US$150.2 million, or nearly AU$208 million. Adding in the much smaller, but still satisfactory payout from News Corp, and the amount is close to US$156 million.

Rupert Murdoch’s total pay jumped to US$49.2 million in the 2017-18 as executive co-chairman, compared with US$29.3 million in 2016-17.

But he was surpassed by sons Lachlan and James. Lachie, co-chair of the company with dad, saw his take more than double to US$50.7 million, compared with US$20.6 million in the previous year.

All this just for being a Murdoch man and a shareholder in the Murdoch family trust, which controls 39.1% of the voting shares in Fox (and in the related News Corp). But in reality the holding is equal to around 17% to 18% of the total number of voting and non-voting shares in both companies.

And Fox CEO James Murdoch had a similarly rewarding year — his compensation for the year to June more than doubled to US$50.3 million, compared with US$20.3 million for the previous year. That will be James’ last full year pay bonanza as he is leaving the empire once the Disney carve-up is done.

In a proxy filing, the company’s directors (which includes the three Murdoch men) justified their decision to reward the Murdochs with massive raises, writing that they were “critical to the completion” of the Disney deal and lauding them for delivering “strong company performance during a time of substantial change”.

The higher payments came after Fox agreed to sell large parts of its business to Walt Disney for US$71.3 billion, but after eight years of attempting to takeover Sky plc failed when Comcast overbid it. Fox decided last week to accept the Comcast offer, which will give it AU$21 billion.

It is not just Fox that has seen Rupert Murdoch hold his hand out and take millions. He was paid a total of US$5.7 million for his chairmanship of News Corp for 2017-18 despite his “base” salary supposedly set at US$5 million. Lachlan, the other co-chair, was paid around US$330,000 and James received US$248,000 for being directors of News. Their big payoffs came at Fox, but dad Rupert still got more — a total of nearly $55 million in cash, shares and other perks. That’s around AU$76 million.

It appears there is never too little money for a Murdoch man at News or Fox — but don’t hurry to read anything in the News Corp papers about it.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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