Murdochs

Tracking Rupert's deal-making over 70 years


December 31, 2023

No individual Australian has ever done more more big commercial transactions than Rupert Murdoch. Here is an attempt to produce a chronological list of them.

October 1952: Sir Keith Murdoch dies with a will that gives Rupert management control of the media business, News Ltd, on behalf of his mother and 3 sisters. After The Courier Mail stake was sold to pay death duties, Rupert was left with The News and Sunday Mail in Adelaide, a large stake in Southdown Press, owner of New Idea magazine, and radio and newspaper interests in Broken Hill.

September 1953: Rupert finally arrives in Adelaide to take charge of his inheritance.

October 1954: News Ltd acquired Western Press Ltd, publisher of Western Australia's only Sunday paper, The Sunday Times, in Perth. It also owned a Saturday publication called the Mirror, and 20 country newspapers. According to Sally Young, this is where Rupert first honed his sensationalist tabloid techniques. The move was funded by the Commonwealth Bank, beginning a vital 40 year relationship which was pivotal to keeping News Corp afloat in the tumultuous 1987-1992 period.

December 1955: After a two year war, Rupert's Sunday Mail merges with the Sunday Advertiser to create a monopoly Sunday newspaper in Adelaide.

December 1957: after a visit to the US offices of TV Guide, Rupert's Southdown Press launched what would become TV Week, just 14 months after television launched in Australia. See Sally Young account.

1958: Murdoch's Southern Television Corporation Ltd (60% owned by News Limited) was granted one of two commercial television licences in Adelaide, which became Channel 9, meaning the empire now already covered newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

1960: After 7 years in Adelaide, Rupert moved to Sydney after News Ltd entered the Sydney market buying the Cumberland group of suburban newspapers to challenge the daily papers' dominance. Fairfax boss Rupert Henderson responded by selling Rupert one of Sydney's two afternoon papers, the Daily Mirror, thinking it would bankrupt Murdoch. Sally Young wrote that this was "the worst mistake of Henderson's otherwise stellar career. The deal not only gave Murdoch the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror, but also extensive printing plants in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, plus the sensational, outrageous weekly Truth papers." Fairfax had only bought the Mirror group off Esra Norton two years earlier.

1961: News Ltd bought Festival Records off LJ Hooker which had in turn bought it off the founders but was losing money. News Ltd ran it successfully until 2005. See Wikipedia.

April 1963: News Ltd acquired a controlling interest in WIN television in Wollongong, its second station after NWS-9 Adelaide, and negotiated Hollywood content deals signed personally by Rupert. In order to buy controlling interests in capital city stations TEN-10 Sydney and ATV-0 (now ATV-10) Melbourne, in June 1979 Murdoch sold his 76% stake in the publicly listed Wollongong station to Oberon Broadcasters, owned by the head of Paramount Pictures' international distribution arm, Bruce Gordon. At the time, under the Broadcasting and Television Act, a company was not permitted to own more than 5% in more than one television station in the same state.

July 15, 1964:
News Ltd launches The Australian with printing and distribution initially starting in Canberra. It lost money for decades but not as much as News Corp shareholders dropped on The Times or The New York Post.

1962: News Ltd reportedly bought a stake in Asia Magazine, its first offshore investment.

1964: News Limited made its first major overseas investment, buying 29.57% of the Wellington Publishing Company which subsequently became part of Independent Newspapers Limited, INL, New Zealand's largest publishing group. The News Limited holding in INL fluctuated over the years until 2003 when News Corp sold its New Zealand assets to Fairfax in a $NZ1.18 billion deal, which was a rare example of selling when not forced to by regulators.

1969: News Ltd makes its first move into the UK with the $US20 million purchase of the News of the World, a Sunday tabloid which at the time was selling 6 million papers a week. Rupert outbid bitter rival Robert Maxwell, who responded by causing hell at that year's News Ltd AGM in Adelaide.

December 29, 1969: News Ltd executive Alick McKay returns to his Wimbledon home in Rupert's Rolls Royce to discover his wife has been kidnapped. Her body was never discovered. The two kidnappers were targetting Anna Murdoch but the Murdochs were on a family in holiday in Australia, having only moved to London earlier that year.

1970: News Ltd bought The Sun in the UK for just £800,000 and Rupert quickly converted the dull broadsheet to a tabloid, sexed it up and was making that much each month by the early 1970s. Over the next 50 years, The Sun threw off many billions of cash profits, financing much of the global empire. Indeed, Forbes magazine noted the following in 1984: "The $US50 million The Sun contributed last year represented an astounding 41% of News Corp's operating profits."

1972: Rupert Murdoch buys The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph from the Packer family for $15 million - deal negotiated in a car park after Rupert and Kerry Packer went to the boxing.

November 1972:
Rupert went over the top with one-sided coverage to support Labor's election after 23 years in the wilderness, but was then annoyed when Gough Whitlam largely ignored him after being sworn in as PM.

1973: News Ltd acquired two newspapers in Texas — The San Antonio Express and The San Antonio News — for $US18 million.

1974:
News Corp launched The Star magazine to compete with the National Inquirer for US tabloid super-market sales, but then sold it to the National Inquirer's parent company in 1990s. See Wikipedia summary.

November 1974:
Rupert and Anna Murdoch moved to New York, partly due to the earlier kidnapping drama in London and also because Rupert's expansion plans were moving to America.

Mid-1975: News Limited wanted to build a print facility on land it owned in Botany, but the local Sydney council was planning to convert the area to residential use. The then NSW Labor opposition offered to intercede on behalf of News — rather zealously, it seems, for in 1975 charges were laid against the local state MP, Laurie Brereton, and Labor official Geoff Cahill for attempting to influence four Labor councillors. Brereton allegedly offered them money if they voted the right way and disendorsement if they didn't. See more in this Rod Tiffen feature.

November 1975: Gough Whitlam was first dismissed by the Governor General and then smashed in an election, with Rupert Murdoch strongly supporting his removal all the way.

November 1976: News Ltd bought The New York Post, the only surviving afternoon daily in New York City, with a circulation of about 500,000, for $US30 million after his usual tactic of telling proprietor Dorothy Schiff that he was thinking of launching a new paper. See Pophistory Dig summary.

January 1977: News Corp paid about $US6.4 million for a public company called Aeneid Equities, which owned New York Magazine and the Village Voice. See Pophistory Dig summary.

1977: frustrated by regulatory blocks that prevented him from expanding into the Sydney market, Murdoch sold WIN in Newcastle and purchased a 46% share in Ten Sydney. The purchase of Ansett two years later gave him Ten-branded stations in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

June 1979: the private company Lotto Management Services, owned by the gambling trio of Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer and Robert Sangster, was awarded a monopoly licence to run lotteries in NSW, which was a hugely controversial deal at the time when then Premier Neville Wran was accused of procuring favours from media moguls. Also see this AFR feature.

December 1979: News Corp and TNT jointly moved to take control of Ansett, attracted by Channel 10 Melbourne which Sir Peter Abeles later agreed to sell to News Corp for the bargain basement price of $10 million. Ansett also owned Channel 10 in Brisbane as this Wikipedia profile of Reg Ansett notes. It was a bargain deal. Forbes Magazine noted the following in 1984: "The Ansett deal showed how crafty Murdoch could be: in four years his half of retained earnings and a special dividend have already exceeded his $US100 million purchase price."

1980: with his focus on Channel Ten following the Ansett takeover, News Corp sold its Channel 9 station in Adelaide for $19 million to a company called NBN, which included the Lamb family as major shareholders. This station had been run by News Ltd since launching in September 1959.

January 4, 1981: Murdoch has lunch with Margaret Thatcher at Chequers, briefing her on the forthcoming bid for Times Newspapers. This only became public in 2012 via Thatcher's private files.

February 1981: Murdoch is selected by the Thompson family to buy Times Newspapers even though the Daily Mail offered $20 million more, provided it had the right to close the loss-making daily edition.

1981: News Corp fails in a hostile bid for William Collins Publishing, but held onto a 19% shareholding that gave him 42% of the voting stock.

May 1983: A News Corp subsidiary signed a $US75 million, six-year lease ($US1 million a month) for five TV channels for his hair-brained US "Skyband" proposal to launch a nation-wide US satellite TV business. This turned into a debacle as Forbes noted in this 1984 piece where Rupert claimed the move had cost his $US20 million.

June 1983: News Corp acquired a 69% interest in Satellite Television, a London advertiser-supported cable network, which later morphed into BSkyB, the monopoly satellite broadcaster in the UK.

August 1993: News Corp offered $US160 million for Showtime, the second-largest pay TV subscription service in the US, as it was merging with the Movie Channel, a pay TV service owned by Warner Amex, but was rebuffed. This was part of the chaotic attempt to get Skyband going.

October 1983: News Corp bought the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper for $US90 million, just as it was abandoning its US satellite TV plan, Skyband. He immediately introduced page 3 girls and dumbed it down, whilst moving to the right. He then sold the paper in 1986 for $US145 million in cash in order to get regulatory clearance to buy its former sister television station WFLD to launch the Fox network.

December 1983: News Corp launches a $US98 million share market raid on Warner Communications, securing an initial 6.7% before later lifting the spend to $US130 million and becoming the largest individual shareholder. Was foiled when the company later entered into a defensive cross-shareholding arrangement with TV outfit Chris Craft Industries, an entity News Corp would return to buy for $US4.4 billion in 2001.

March 1985: News Corp bought 50% of 20th Century Fox for $US162.5 million plus lent the loss-making business $US88 million, after it crashed to an $US89 million loss in 1984 due to a series of box office flops. See Los Angeles Times report.

May 1985: News Corp commenced push into building fourth US television network paying billionaire John Kluge about $US2 billion for his 7 US stations, a moved which forced the sale of his recently acquired Chicago Sun Times newspaper for $US145 million.

September 23, 1985: News Corp agrees to pay Marvin Davis $US325 million for the remaining 50% of 20th Century Fox but there were complicated property swaps in the deal where the studio gave away its Aspen ski resort and the Pebble Beach golf course. Arthur Siskind is quoted in this detailed Los Angeles Times piece at the time. All up, Rupert picked up the film studio for $US500 million, which turned into one of his best ever investments.

1985: TNT and News Corp launch AWAS which became the world's third biggest aircraft leasing company and generated huge profits at first but later became a head-ache when News Corp and TNT both went through a debt crisis in the early 1990s.

January 1986: 6000 printers went on strike for 54 weeks as Rupert launched secret Wapping printing facility in London.

December 1986: News Corp completes Herald & Weekly Times takeover, which included the Murdoch family's private vehicle Cruden taking on more than $500 million in debt privatisating Queensland Press.

February 5, 1987: Wapping strike collapses and Rupert rides high but enters a period of hubris.

February 1987: News Corp sells control of Network Ten to Frank Lowy's Westfield empire for $800 million, with Sir Peter Abeles a key middle man. He was forced to sell by Australia's new media ownership laws after buying the Herald & Weekly Times to become Australia's dominant newspaper proprietor. The laws didn't allow cross-ownership between newspapers and television stations.

March 1987: News Corp agrees to pay $US300 million for independent US book publisher Harper & Row after a bidding war involving multiple companies.

1987: News Corp paid $US284.4 million to take the parent company of the South China Morning Post off the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in a move which added to his debt problems but was a highly profitable business, as the newspaper was an effective monopoly and one of the most profitable in the world, reportedly earning $US75.6 million in 1992-93.

September 1987: Stockmarket crash causes Cruden crisis as Queensland Press outrageously pays $679 million for a 16% stake in News Corp owned by Cruden. The Commonwealth Bank was heavily involved and even took a mortgage over Rupert's $20m New York penthouse.

June 8, 1988: having failed to gain regulatory approval for his own satellite service to become part of the British Satellite Broadcasting consortium, Rupert announced that his pan-European television station Sky Channel, would be relaunched as a four-channel, United Kingdom-based service called Sky Television.

August 7, 1988: News Corp goes over the top paying $US3 billion for Triangle to get control of TV Guide, sending debt above $10 billion for the first time.

August 15, 1988: The News America Free Standing Insert division was formed when News Corporation purchased the marketing divisions of two Free Standing Insert business competitors: Quad/Marketing Inc. and Product Movers Inc. As The New York Times noted at the time, initially it was to supplement News Corp's US magazines division but it later became a huge and sometimes controversial division in its own right.

January 1989: News Corp successfully buys the remaining 58% of Glasgow-based book publisher William Collins in a deal which valued the company at 404m pounds or about $A1 billion.

February 1989: News Corp launches Sky TV in the UK, which was initially a cash eating machine as satellites were launched into the sky.

March 21, 1989: Eric Beecher resigned as editor of The Herald, ending a two year investment in challenging The Age by taking the afternoon broadsheet upmarket after News Corp's 1987 HWT takeover. It immediately went down market and was merged with The Sun 18 months later.


June 1989: the private company Lotto Management Services, owned by the gambling trio of Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer and Robert Sangster, lost the 10 year monopoly they had enjoyed over lotteries in NSW, which was a hugely controversial deal at the time when then Premier Neville Wran was accused of procuring favours from media moguls. Also this AFR feature.


August 18, 1989: Australian pilots strike begins and never formally ends but crippled cash flows at News Corp's 50% owned airline Ansett for a few months.

August 20, 1989: the Fairfax-News Corp Sunday Press joint venture is dissolved and three new papers are launched, The Sunday Age, The Sunday Sun and The Sunday Herald. It was designed to put financial pressure on the Warwick Fairfax-controlled Fairfax, but ultimately added to the subsequent debt crisis at News Corp.

January 1990: Paul Keating lifted interest rates to a record 17% as pilots strike effectively ends with mass resignation of pilots.

March 1990: British Satellite Broadcasting finally launches, 13 months after Rupert's competitor Sky.

March 6, 1990: Martin Peers breaks this story in The AFR about the bizarre and arguably inappropriate Murdoch family shuffling of debt and equity between Cruden, Queensland Press and News Corp.

mid-1990: banks begin to lose faith with Rupert's long term CFO Richard Sarazen and David Devoe joins as CFO, a pivotal appointment who stayed in the role until retiring 23 years later in 2013.

July 1990: News Corp partially floats The South China Morning Post on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at $HK3.08 per share in order to raise cash and offload some of News Corp's debt into a separately listed vehicle, similar to what happened with PMP in Australia in November 1991. He sold the remaining 50% and control to billionaire Robert Kuok, starting in September 1993.

August 2, 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait. Hurt markets, but News Corp especially because it owned 50% of Ansett and 50% of AWAS, the world's 3rd biggest aircraft leasing business.

September 29,1990: Rupert flies to Melbourne and holds a press conference at the Grand Hyatt announcing the merger of The Herald and The Sun in Melbourne and The Mirror and The Daily Telegraph in Sydney as a cost saving measure.

November 2, 1990: Sky and BSB merge to staunch their massive losses, with Rupert winning management control through News Corp's 50% stake in the joint venture.

November 1990: Australian Treasurer Paul Keating declares it's the recession we had to have after the ABS reported a second consecutive quarter of negative growth. Official interest rates peaked at 17% and Australian entrepreneurs were dropping like flies during this period.

January 19, 1991: News Corp shares bottom at $3.19 during debt crisis as family stake dropped to just $277 million but the deal gets done a few days later and the focus turns to servicing and reducing the company's sprawling $13 billion debt soar.

February 28, 1991: Iraq war ends, easing the pressure on Ansett, market and oil prices.

July 1991: US airline America West goes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, highlighting News Corp's bizarre exposure to AWAS, which has 12 of its 69 aircraft leased to the US airline, as was noted in this Washington Post piece at the time.

August 19, 1991: Rupert replaces his school friend Richard Searby QC as News Corp chairman after 14 years and has been executive chair ever since, for more than 30 years.

October 1991: John Malone's TCI, Boston Ventures and a Hong Kong investor put up almost $500 million in cash for preferred News Corp shares which more than double in value in year when they are partially redeemed.

November 1991: News Corp sells down 55% of PMP at $3.40 to its own shareholders in a float that finished 75% short but raised almost $500 million in cash and shifted almost $300 million in debt off its own teetering balance sheet.

December 1991: News Corp raises $US700 million in debt and equity to pay back its banking syndicate whilst providing very poor disclosure about its off balance sheet airline and aircraft operations, as this Newsday columnist points out.

1992: News Corp buys Israeli start-up NDS as it gears up to fight pay-TV piracy.

July 1993: News Corp took a giant leap into Asia by agreeing to pay $US525 million for a 63.6% stake in the Hong Kong-based satellite TV venture Star TV, signalling that Rupert is back in expansion mode after the debt crisis.

September 1993: News Corp sold a controlling 35% stake in SCMP (Holdings), publisher of the South China Morning Post, to China-backed billionaire Robert Kuok, for $US349 million, retaining a 15% stake which was subsequently sold. All up, News Corp more than doubled its money on its $US285m purchase in 1987.

December 1993: News Corp goes public with super-voting proposal, has fight with ASX which is pressured by Keating Government to change the rules. Rupert sends Terry McCrann down to directly lobby then ASX chairman Laurie Cox.

October 1994: News Corp shareholders approve 1-for-2 bonus issue of non-voting shares meaning 33% of the shares on issue didn't get a vote. This later financed numerous takeovers.

December 1994: News Corp floated BSkyB at just 256p as the company raised £900 million from public investors, significantly reducing its debt while retaining 39% control and giving public investors an opportunity to independently value this part of the Murdoch empire.

September 18, 1995: debut edition of News Corp's Washington-based magazine, The Weekly Standard, an American neo-conservative political magazine of news, analysis and commentary, published 48 times per year. Originally edited by founders Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes, the Standard had been described as a "redoubt of neoconservatism" and as "the neocon bible." News Corporation sold it in 2009 and it ceased publishing in December 2018 over disgreements about Trump coverage.

October 23, 1995: Foxtel commenced a 20 channel service, delivered over the Telstra Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network. Rupert personally negotiated the terms of the 50-50 joint venture with Prime Minister Paul Keating, given that Telstra was 100% government owned at the time.

1996: News Corporation's Fox Children's Network and Haim Saban's Saban Entertainment merged to form a 50-50 JV Fox Kids Worldwide, a business they would sell for an enterprise value of $US5.3 billion 5 years later. Haban had management control but exercised a put option with News Corp in 2000 which led to the 2011 Disney sale.

April 1996: Super League wars explode in Australia after the Packers saved Australis Media locking Foxtel into an excruciating 25 year film supply deal. Robert Gottliebsen described it as the biggest war since the battle for BHP.

July 1996: BSkyB announced plans to buy "up to 49 percent" of Leo Kirch's German digital group DF1 and to buy as well into a sports channel.The Kirch empire ultimately collapsed and BSkyB is estimated to have lost more than $1.5 billion in its first foray into Germany. See Kirch obituary.

October 7, 1996: Fox News launched, the most successful start-up media venture over Rupert's career and still going strong today.

July 1997: News Corp sells remaining 40% stake in PMP via JB Were at a 12% discount of $3.20 a share, raising $325 million, lifting the overall divestment proceeds to more than $1 billion.

1997: Pat Robertson's fortune rests on his creation of the Family Channel, which was spun out of the Christian Broadcasting Network and sold in 1997 to News Corp's Fox Television for $US1.9 billion.

September 1997: Fox Group agrees to pay $US311 million for the LA Dodgers baseball team, which was a TV rights play, as is explained in this detailed blog post.

June 11, 1998: News Corp sold the US TV Guide business to the United Video Satellite Group, parent company of Prevue Networks, for $US800 million in cash and 60 million shares of stock worth an additional $US1.2 billion (this followed an earlier merger attempt between the two companies in 1996 that eventually fell apart). As The New York Times reported at the time, this was one of many deals between Murdoch and John Malone, as they collaborated to produce modern TV guides for their global pay-TV empires.

October 1998: Murdochs and Packers end their Australian war as PBL buys 25% stake in Foxtel for $157 million and also secure a 50% stake in Fox Sports. The Packers inflicted a rare defeat on Rupert in their pay-TV battles.

November 10, 1998: News Corp raised $US2.8 billion in cash selling 18.6% of largely non-voting shares in Fox Group, which comprised its US broadcasting operations. From this moment on it always had a very strong balance sheet with minimal debt.

July 1999: infamous lunch when Murdoch man Paul Carlucci threatened the two brothers who started Floorgraphics, George and Richard Rebh, in a Cantonese restaurant called A Dish of Salt in midtown Manhattan. According to transcripts of a trial that took place 10 years after the lunch, the Rebh brothers were astonished. George Rebh told the jury that Carlucci then said: "From now on, consider us your competitor and understand this: if you ever get into any of our businesses, I will destroy you. I work for a man who wants it all, and doesn't understand anybody telling him he can't have it all."

November 23, 1999: News Corp invested another $200 million into One-tel at $1.20 a share, lifting its stake to 25% - it would be broke within a couple of years.

July 2000: BSkyB bought Sports Internet Group in July 2000 which included the small telephone and online sports betting based company Surrey Sports alongside two other companies; Planet Football and Opta Index. Surrey Sports was rebranded in July 2002 to create Sky Betting & Gaming which BSkyB ultimately exited in two tranches pocketing about $2.5 billion in profit.

August 13, 2000: News Corp agrees to pay $US5.3 billion or $US85 a share for Chris Craft, expanding its US broadcasting operation. The deal involves $US2.13 billion in cash and the issuance of 292 million non-voting News Corp shares. The separately listed Fox Entertainment took the assets in exchange for issuing more shares to News Corp which lifted its stake from 82.76% to 85.25%. This deal and the John Malone transactions were when the non-voting shares became a majority of total capital and the initial two thirds majority of voting shares in 1994 got debauched into a more outrageous voting gerrymander.

September 28, 2000: Rupert announces his biggest deal to date with John Malone's Liberty Media group which emerged with 18% of News Corp's total capital (mostly non-voting) in exchange for vending assets into Gemstar/Sky Interactive. Check out all the gushing quotes about each other in this ASX announcement.

December 13, 2000: Rupert announces that his son James Murdoch and Graeme Kraehe had been "elected" to the board. They were appointed with the Kraehe appointment designed to boost independent representation as more Murdochs joined the board.

February 8, 2001: News Corp formally subscribes for 40m shares in realestate.com.au, securing control of 44% for an investment of about $10 million after a direct approach by director John McGrath to Lachlan Murdoch in Sydney. This turns into one of the Murdoch family's 5 best investments ever.

May 30, 2001: One-tel collapsed with Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer putting out a joint statement saying they had been "profoundly misled". News Corp's losses exceeded $300 million. See Wikipedia.

July 23, 2001: Walt Disney paid $US5.3 billion for Fox Family Worldwide from News Corp and Haim Saban, comprising $3 billion for the equity, plus the assumption of $2.3 billion in debt.

July 25, 2001:
Federal Communications Commission approves $US4.4 billion Chris Craft acquisition in a controversial 3-2 vote which Democrats opposed.

October 1, 2002: News Corporation announced it would buy Italian pay-TV group Telepiu from struggling media rival Vivendi Universal in a near 900m euros (£560m) deal, which ultimately led to the launch of Sky Italia. See Guardian coverage.

April 14, 2003: in a rare sale, News Corp sold its New Zealand assets to Fairfax in a $NZ1.18 billion deal which in hindsight was regarded as a good exit from a business News Corp first purchased in 1964.

October 15, 2003: Murdoch suffers his first ever shareholder rejection when a proposed options issue to the non-executive directors was withdrawn due to protest votes. Under Australian law, he could no longer vote his own stock on remuneration issues so work immediately commenced to reincorporate in Delaware, a move that was announced 6 months later.

October 2003: after 7 years of poor performance, Fox Group sold the LA Dodgers baseball team for $US430 million to Boston real estate developer Frank McCourt, although Fox loaned McCourt $US196 million towards the sale price and then the Dodgers later went bankrupt anyway.

December 22, 2003: the Republican controlled FCC controversially approved News Corp's $US6.6 billion acquisition of a 34% stake in DirecTV from General Motors, which was funded by a cash payment of $US3.1 billion to General Motors for 19.8% and the issuance of non-voting shares for another 14.2%.

April 6, 2004: News Corp announces plan to reincorporate in Delaware and also buy the Murdoch family's 58% stake in Queensland Press at a hefty enterprise valuation of $2.95 billion.

September 15, 2004: News Corp releases 374 page document on reincorporation proposal and separate related party transaction to buy the Murdochs out of Queensland Press.

November 9, 2004: News Corp adopts a poison pill after John Malone's Liberty Media emerges with up to 17% of the voting stock after an options play with Merrill Lynch.

January 10, 2005: News Corp offers 1.9 non-voting shares for each shares in Fox Entertainment Group to mop up the 17.9% that it doesn't already own after it was partially floated for $US2.8 billion in cash in November 1998. This further expanded the amount of non-voting shares on issue whilst giving News Corp full access to the Fox cash flows.

July 18, 2005: News Corp buys Myspace for $US580 million - see company filing with the SEC.

July 29, 2005: Lachlan Murdoch resigns as a New York-based executive of News Corp and returns to Australia whilst staying on the board as a non-executive director.

August 1, 2005: News Corp launched mop up bid for REA at $2 a share after buying an extra 3% at that price from the Packer-Microsoft joint venture NineMSN. Ended up spending less than $100m lifting its stake from 40% to 58% over the next few months after lifting its takeover offer to $2.50 and later under-writing a $25 million capital raising at $3 in 2006.

November 2006: News Corp paid an estimated $200 million for the FPC stable of 25 titles to become Australia's third-biggest magazine publisher.

December 2006: Rupert Murdoch agreed with John Malone to swap News Corp's 39% interest in DirecTV for Liberty's 19% voting stake and 15% non-voting stake in News Corp, the biggest reduction in the size of the empire in its history and a rare asset sale. See New York Times report on this huge deal. DirecTV was then bought by AT&T for $US67 billion in 2015. See Wikipedia.

March 2007: Hannan family sells its large network of 18 suburban newspapers, plus its FPC magazines business to News Corp for $480 million, retaining its printing operations.

May 2, 2007: News Corp launches $US5 billion bid for Dow Jones.

October 29, 2007: Hulu launched as a joint venture between News Corporation and NBC Universal, Providence Equity, and later Disney, serving as an aggregation of recent episodes of television series from their respective television broadcasting.

January 2008: News Corporation bought a 14.6% stake in German pay-TV operator Premiere for €287m (£214m), five years after losing £1bn on a previous investment in the broadcaster. News Corp kept creeping until it reached control with 54% of Sky Deutschland in 2013 and then cashed in when it sold this and Sky Italia to BSkyB for 4.94 billion pounds in 2014. See Guardian coverage. Private equity Permira had floated Premiere in 2005 and was also News Corp's partner in NDS.

May 2008: News Corp received $US950 million in value from the sale of its 41% stake in Gemstar to a company called Macrovision, which ended the long saga that started with the $US3 billion purchase of TV Guide in 1988. CNN produced an excellent summary of what happened.

June 30, 2008: News Corp booked a $US1.2 billion profit when it reduced its stake in pay-TV encryption company NDS from 67% to 47% as part of a joint takeover of the NASDAQ listed outfit with private equity firm Permira, priced at $US60 a share.

November 2010: Lachlan Murdoch joins the Network Ten board after joining James Packer in a raid on the company. Both ended up losing more than $200 million personally when Ten went broke in 2017.

July 5, 2011: The Guardian breaks the Milly Dowler phone hacking story, causing a massive backlash against the Murdochs.

Sunday, July 10, 2011: after 168 years, the Murdochs close The News of the The World which sold out all 4.5 million printed copies in its final edition.

July 19, 2011: Rupert Murdoch appears before UK Parliamentary committee declaring it the most humble day of my life.

March 16, 2012: News Corp and private equity firm Permira announced the $US5 billion sale of NDS to Cisco.

May 24, 2012: Foxtel completes $2 billion takeover of ASX-listed regional pay-TV provider Austar, creating an Australian pay-TV monopoly which at the time was 50% owned by Telstra, 25% owned by News Corp and 25% owned by James Packer Consolidated Media Holdings.

June 19, 2012:
News Corp launches agreed $2 billion takeover bid for the James Packer controlled Consolidated Media Holdings, lifting News Corp's Foxtel stake to 50% and its stake in Fox Sports from 50% to 100%.

January 2013: News Corp moved to 54% of the separately listed Sky Deutschland after injecting more than $600 million through a placement, a rights issue, loans, convertible bonds and guarantees on its German soccer rights bid.

June 3, 2014: one of Rupert's most controversial and aggressive henchmen, News America Marketing CEO Paul Carlucci, retires after 23 years of service. The exit statement quoted Rupert saying: “Paul has been a close confidant and trusted colleague for more than two decades, and his contributions to our company and the people we serve are incalculable. I am grateful for his friendship, his leadership, and his counsel through the years, and wish him all the best in the future.”

June 28, 2013: News Corp's demerger of 21st Century Fox becomes effective after the value of News Corp jumped to $US73 billion in the lead up.

July 23, 2013: Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer get together in Sydney to celebrate their struggles against Fairfax at the launch of the Pam Williams book "Killing Fairfax". See Crikey piece.

November 23, 2013: Original Mail on Sunday piece on Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch falling out over alleged Blair-Wendi “multiple encounters”.

January 2014:
civil war in the Murdoch family over Rupert's decision to dump Wendy. See Crikey wrap.

March 2014: Lachlan Murdoch lured back to family empire in a power sharing deal with his father and brother James. See Crikey.

July 2014:
21st Century Fox offers about $100 billion to buy Time Warner including a ridiculous $US47.52 billion worth of non-voting shares which would have retained 40% voting control for the family whilst reducing its actual stake in the business to about 7%. Time Warner rejected it outright. See Crikey.

July 2014: 21st Century Fox collected nearly £5bn after BSkyB agreed to buy out Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. News Corp did the heavy lifting building these profitable businesses over the years. See Guardian coverage.

November 2014: first coverage of soaring Murdoch pay packets since the 2013 Fox demerger as Crikey reports total family packets have hit $600 million over the past 16 years.

November 2014: big protest votes at News Corp and Fox AGMs in Los Angeles which were held one day apart and involved some of the worst censorship of AGM debate ever seen.

March 2015: BSkyB sold 80% of Sky Betting & Gaming to private equity firm CVC for 600 million pounds and ended up making $2.5 billion in clear profit by the time it fully exited the business 4 years later. See CVC announcement.

June 15, 2015: Network Ten announces that Foxtel will be placed a 15% stake for up to $77 million and also handed over its advertising sales business to Foxtel as the Murdoch family's creeping control grab moves disastrously forward. The Foxtel money would be totally lost when Ten collapsed in 2017.

November 2015: Fox swallowed the rest of National Geographic in a $US725 million transaction. The Guardian wasn't impressed at the time.

June 26, 2016: Rupert meets Donald Trump at his Scottish golf course and they do their famous tour on a golf buggy.

July 2016: Roger Ailes forced out of Fox News over sexual assault allegations.

November 2016: Trump shocks the world with election victory after being heavily backed in by Fox News and then pays dividends in spades for Rupert with cuts in corporate tax rates.

March 3, 2017: 21st Century Fox notified OfCom that it intended to launch a $20 billion bid for BSkyB and the regulator responded with this fascinating 21 page document. BSkyB ultimately fell to Comcast.

June 15, 2017: Lachlan Murdoch teams up with Bruce Gordon to threaten Ten into administration but later fail in their bid to buy it on the cheap. See Crikey.

February 2018: Disney and 21st Century Fox announce massive $US71 billion deal.

March 6, 2018:
Telstra and News Corp announce a restructure of their Australian pay-TV operations which leaves News Corp with 65% of the combined operation. Previously, News Corp owned 100% of Fox Sports and Foxtel was as 50-50 joint venture.

April 2018: Canada's The Stars group pays $US4.7 billion for Sky Betting and Gaming which was 20% owned by Sky Plc, which in turn was 39% owned by 21st Century Fox.

July 2018: Tabcorp terminates Sun Bets JV with News Corp in the UK losing more than $100 million after being forced to pay News a 39.5m pound exit payment. The joint venture only went live in August 2016.

September 23, 2018
: Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox to buy BSkyB for $US38.8 billion, effectively reducing the price Disney is paying for Murdoch-controlled entertainment assets.

March 19, 2019:
Disney and 21st Century Fox settle their $US71 billion transaction after 15 months of wrangling.

May 2019: Fox Corp and The Stars Group announced FoxBet JV in the US with Fox subscribing to a $US236m placement in The Stars Group at $US16.44 a share to secure a 5% stake in the company. See announcement.

April 2020: Nine months after announcing that it was exploring a potential sale of its News America Marketing division, News Corp announced the $US235 million sale to private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners. This was an inglorious end to a controversial US inserts and printing business which was a powerhouse division for many years but also attracted plenty of controversy and litigation. The exit painted a different story to Rupert's gushing farewell statement when the CEO of the business Paul Carlucci departed in 2014.

May 28, 2020:
ruthless decision after COVID struck to cease printing 112 titles in Australia, a move that cuts annual revenue by more than $US100 million.

June 25, 2021: News Corp announced the $362 million purchase of Investors Business Daily, a US-based tip sheet which runs investors.com and has almost 100,000 digital subscribers.

March 29, 2021: News Corp announced the $460 million purchase of book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt — a deal which added 7000 titles to the Harper Collins back catalogue, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984.

March 30, 2021: REA announced an agreed $244 million takeover of Mortgage Choice, an ASX-listed mortgage broking firm. REA's market capitalisation at the time was $18.4 billion.

August 2, 2021: News Corp announced it would pay $US1.15 billion in cash for Oil Price Information Service from S&P.

June 1, 2022: News Corp completed the $US295 million acquisition of the Base Chemicals business from S&P, which added to the earlier acquisition of the Oil Price Information Service, a divestment forced on S&P by competition regulators.

October 2022: Murdoch Trusts announce they are open to News Corp and Fox Corp merging so negotiations begin with both boards but the deal is aborted within weeks, reportedly due to opposition from James Murdoch.

April 19, 2023: Fox Corp settles Dominion case agreeing to pay $1.2 billion.

September 21, 2023: Rupert announces he is stepping down as as co-chair of News Corp and Fox Corp at the upcoming AGMs in November to become "chairman emeritus" with son Lachlan taking over as sole chair of both.