a media industry resource

Murdoch, News and Fox: landmarks


This chronology is indicative only.

It covers -

  • the father - Keith Murdoch and antecedents, 1788-1952
  • Rupert in Australia (1954-1964)
  • expansion into the UK (1963-1985)
  • and into the US (1985-1996)
  • global media (1997)
  • expatriation (2003)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.

The father

1788 London Daily Universal Register becomes The Times

1840 Port Philip Herald (later Melbourne Herald) first published

1850 Harper's magazine founded in US

1869 Herald becomes evening paper

1885 Keith Murdoch born in Melbourne

1902 Herald & Weekly Times (H&WT) group formed

1903 Keith Murdoch begins work for the Age

1907 Rothermere buys The Times

1908 spends two years in Fleet Street

1915 becomes manager of United Cable Service, Australian news service based in London

1915 Murdoch's reports on Gallipoli lead to dismissal of Ian Hamilton, British commander in the Dardanelles

1916 William Fox starts film production in Los Angeles

1919 establishment of Gordon and Gotch Australasia Ltd

1921 Keith becomes Editor-in-Chief of Herald, which becomes highest circulation paper in Australasia

1922 Hugh Dennison's Sun Newspaper Company (est 1910) launches Melborne Sun News-Pictorial

1925 H&WT buys Sun Newspaper Co.

1931 Rupert Keith Murdoch born in Melbourne

1933 Keith is knighted, becomes principal owner of Brisbane Courier-Mail

1935 Australian Associated Press formed

1938 Australian Newsprint Mills formed

1940 Australia's wartime Director-General of Information

1941 Ezra Norton founds Sydney Daily Mirror

1949 gains majority interest in Adelaide News

1952 Rupert graduates from Oxford, having spent summers working in Fleet Street

1952 Sir Keith dies, most of holdings sold

In Australia

1954 Murdoch takes over Adelaide News

1956 H&WT founds HSV-7 commercial television station

1956 Murdoch marries Patricia Booker

1958 Southern Television Corporation subsidiary gets one of two commercial TV licences in Adelaide

1958 Murdoch takes minority stake in Perth Sunday Times

1959 birth of daughter Prudence

1960 Murdoch buys NSW suburban newspaper chain Cumberland Newspapers (24 papers)

1960 buys Sydney Daily Mirror from Fairfax and Melbourne and Brisbane Truth

1962 buys 25% share in Packer-controlled Nine Network stations in Sydney and Melbourne, and Wollongong television station

1962 Harper & Bros merge with Row, Peterson & Co. to become Harper & Row

1963 Thomson buys the Sunday Times

1964 launches The Australian

Expansion into the UK

1963 Thomson buys The Times

1964 News buys 24% of Wellington Publishing (later Independent Newspapers or INL - New Zealand's largest media company), subsequently increased to 49%

1966 buys Centralian Advocate

1966 Murdoch divorces Patricia, marries Anna Torv

1968 birth of daughter Elisabeth

1969 beats off Maxwell in fight for UK News of the World and The Sun

1970 buys stake in London Weekend Television (sold 1979)

1972 buys Sydney Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph from Packer

1972 buys 46% stake in Sydney Channel Ten television, sells Wollongong station

1972 Herald & Weekly Times buys Crawford Productions

1973 Hector Crawford buys back Crawford Productions

1973 enters US market with purchase of San Antonio Express and News from Harte-Hanks

1973 acquires rest of Perth Sunday Times

1974 launch of National Star in competition with schlocky National Enquirer

1976 buys the New York Post from Dorothy Schiff for US$30m

1976 buys New York magazine, Village Voice and New West magazine for US$26m

1976 buys The Times, Sunday Times and associated papers from Thomson for £12m

1977 sells WIN-TV, buys stake in TEN Sydney

1979 unsuccessful bid for H&WT, gains control of Channel Ten Melbourne and 50% of Ansett Transport Industries (defeating Holmes a Court bid for ATI)

1980 News Corporation established

1981 sells Berrows group (inc Worcester Journal) to Reed

1982 Hector Crawford sells 40% of Crawford Productions to Herald & Weekly Times and 10% to Gordon & Gotch

1982 Murdoch buys Boston Herald American from Hearst for US$1m

1983 buys Chicago Sun-Times for US$90m

1984 buys Townsville Bulletin

1984 sells interests in Reuters during public float

1984 buys Ziff-Davis business magazines for US$350m

1985 establishes aircraft leasing division, Ansett World Wide Aviation Services (AWAS), with partner TNT

And into the US

1985 buys TCF Holdings (parent company of Twentieth Century Fox Film)

1985 buys seven US television stations from Metromedia for US$2bn to form Fox Television

1985 sells the Village Voice

1985 becomes US citizen in line with regulations barring foreign ownership of television stations

1986 News sells stake in Network Ten Holdings to Westfield Capital Corporation for $840m

1986 moves London newspapers to new facilities in Wapping

1986 H&WT buys Hobart Mercury

1986 Murdoch launches Fox television network in US

1986 sells Chicago Sun-Times and associated papers for US$145m

1986 News Corp is listed on New York Stock Exchange

1987 gains control of H&WT for $1.8bn after bid by Robert Holmes a Court's Bell

1987 sells HSV-7 Melbourne to Fairfax for $320m

1987 sells radio 3DB to Albert family (station ultimately becomes Mix 101.1 FM)

1987 sells 50% stake in Crawford Productions to Skase's Qintex

1987 buys South China Morning Post

1987 buys UK Today from Lonrho for £38m

1987 pays £250m for 14.9% stake in Pearson (subsequently sold)

1987 buys Harper & Row, later merged with William Collins as HarperCollins

1988 announces plans for Sky Television, a UK satellite-based network

1987 sells Provincial Newspapers to O'Reilly family

1988 buys Triangle Publications, which includes TV Guide, from Walter Annenberg for US$3bn

1988 sells New York Post

1988 closes Brisbane Telegraph

1989 launch of Sky Television - reaches million viewers within year

1989 The Simpson's premiere on Fox Television

1989 Harper & Row and William Collins merge, buy Scott, Foresman and Little Brown

1990 BSkyB formed through merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting (in which Pearson and Granada had stakes)

1990 Herald is merged with Sun News-Pictorial as Melbourne's first 24-hour newspaper

1990 News announces US$1bn Sky Cable four-year direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) joint venture with Hughes, NBC and Cablevision - partnership later dissolved

1990 Harper & Row and William Collins become HarperCollins Publishers, sells Gower Medical to Kluwer, buys Unwin Hyman for £16m

1991 launches Super!Zeitung (closed 1992) in partnership with Burda

1991 sells most US magazines - including New York, Seventeen, Soap Opera Digest, Soap Opera Weekly, Seventeen, Automobile, New Woman, Premiere and Daily Racing Form - to Primedia

1991 floats printer, distributor and magazine publisher PMP Communications

1991 sells Unwin Hyman academic division to Thomson

1992 family's stake in News reduced from 43% to 35%

1993 pays US$525m for 63.6% stake in Hong Kong-based satellite broadcaster Star TV

1993 sells majority interest in South China Morning Post

1993 buys Delphi Internet Services

1993 pays $1.6bn for rights to broadcast US pro football on Fox

1993 rebuys New York Post

1994 agrees to pay US$500m to New World Communications Group for affiliate agreements from its 12 current network affiliates, takes 20% stake

1994 sells Boston Herald to Patrick Purcell

1994 buys 49.9% stake in VOX satellite TV station from Bertelsmann

1994 forms Broadsystem Ventures (later News Optimus) as a provider of discount telephony services to residential market

1994 BSkyB floated with value of £4.5bn

1994 Indovision joint venture in Indonesia with Datakom Asia - dissolved in 1998

1995 sells Harvill books

1996 Softbank and News team up for 21% stake in Japan's Asahi National Broadcasting

1996 News Corporation pays £506m for 18% of News International that it did not own

1996 sells HarperCollins US education interests to Pearson for US$580m

1996 Festival Records acquires Larrikin Records

Global media

1997 News buys Heritage Media coupon insert business for US$1.4bn

1997 sells 50% stake in Australian Newsprint Mills for $293m

1997 sells stake in PMP Communications

1997 buys remaining 80% of New World Communications (10 US television stations) for US$2.5bn

1997 buys LA Dodgers baseball team and Dodger Stadium for US$350m

1997 agrees to buy International Family Entertainment cable network (renamed Fox Family Worldwide) for US$1.9bn

1998 sells DIMAC Direct Marketing

1998 sells Heritage's radio and television broadcast properties to Sinclair for US$630m

1998 floats 18% of Fox Entertainment Group

1999 Liberty Media Corp takes stake in News

1999 sells 49.9% stake in German broadcaster VOX to Bertelsmann's CLT-UFA for US$340m

1999 takes 24% stake in German pay-tv channel Premiere, controlled by Kirch

1999 buys William Morrow and Avon Books from Hearst for US$180m

1999 buys Ecco Press

1999 Broadsystem acquire ADS telemarketing services and AIM

1999 sells yacht Morning Glory to Berlusconi for £4.5m

1999 takes stake in Norwegian digital technologies group Tandberg Television through sale of Digital Broadcasting Business (DBB)

2000 Broadsystem acquires HDM Worboys

2000 sells 50% stake in Ansett

2000 takes 10% stake in Healtheon/WebMD

2000 buys Chris-Craft Industries, BHC Communications and United Television (10 television stations) for US$5.35bn

2000 sells FS Falkiner

2000 HarperCollins buys Fourth Estate

2000 INL sells Gordon & Gotch Australia to PMP

2001 News sells 49.5% stake in Fox Family Worldwide to Disney for US$5.3bn

2001 increases stake in Gemstar-TV Guide to 38% by issuing shares to Liberty

2001 swaps KTVX-TV Salt Lake City and KMOL-TV in San Antonio for Clear Channel's WFTC-TV Minneapolis

2001 swaps KBHK-TV San Francisco for two Viacom stations: WDCA Washington and KTXH Houston

2001 sells stake in Tandberg

2001 sells FOX 8 in the Netherlands to SBS

2001 launches MX in Melbourne

2002 with Telecom Italia buys Telepiu Italian pay tv from Vivendi Universal and Canal+ for €920m, combines it with Stream as Sky Italia

2002 Fox Entertainment Group buys WPWR-TV Chicago from Newsweb Corporation for US$425m

2002 swaps KPTV-TV in Portland, Oregon for Meredith’s WOFL-TV in Orlando and WOGX-TV in Ocala Florida

2003 buys 34% controlling stake in Hughes Electronics (satellite broadcaster DirectTV) for US$6.6bn


2003 Fairfax pays $1bn for most publishing interests of New Zealand's Independent Newspapers Ltd (INL), at that time around 50% owned by News

2004 Fox Entertainment Group sells Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium to property developer Frank McCourt for US$430m

2004 John Malone's Liberty becomes second largest shareholder in News (9% voting interest, 17% economic interest)

2004 News announces plans to shift domicile from Australia to US and buy out Murdoch family's 58% interest in Queensland Press

2004 DirecTV sells 80.5% stake in PanAmSat (29 satellites with 2,100 channels) to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for US$4.3bn

2004 pays Telecom Italia £60m for remaining 19.9% of Sky Italia

2004 family holding company Kayarem moved to Bermuda (avoiding potential US$1.1bn tax as News shifts from Australia to US) and renamed Karlholt

2005 acquires remaining 18% of Fox Entertainment Group

2005 sells 38% stake in UK broadcaster The Wireless Group to UTV

2005 launches MX in Sydney

2005 pays US$580m for Intermix Media

2005 pays US$650m for IGN Entertainment Inc

2005 pays US$25.3m for

2005 sells TSL Education division (inc Times Educational Supplement, Times Higher Education Supplement and Nursery World) to Exponent Private Equity for £235m

2005 BSkyB pays £211m for UK broadband ISP Easynet

2006 TMG and ING reach agreement to acquire Sky Radio (Sky Radio 101FM, Radio Veronica and Classic FM in Netherlands plus Sky Radio Hessen in Germany) for a total enterprise value of €190m

2006 News pays US$3.5m for stake in Simply Hired

2006 sells 19.9% stake in Phoenix Satellite Television of Hong Kong to China Mobile for US$180m

2006 agrees to spend £44m for 56.5% of Turkish national tv channel Turkish Huzur Radyo TV (launched 1993)

2006 pays US$188m for 51% of Jamba ('Crazy Frog' ring-tones)

2006 buys TimesLedger newspaper group (16 weekly newspapers in Queens, inc The Flushing Times, Astoria Times and Glen Oaks Ledger) from Steven Blank and Courier-Life newspaper group (11 Brooklyn newspapers, inc Bay News, Brooklyn Heights Courier and Flatbush Life) from Clifford Luster for US$16m

2006 buys 7.5% stake in Fairfax for $360m

2006 BSkyB buys 17.9% stake in ITV for £940m

2006 News Limited pays $180m for 25 magazines from Federal Publishing Company (inc Delicious, Australian Golf Digest and Vogue Australia)

2006 announces US$11bn swap with Liberty