Lachlan Murdoch set to get his revenge on Fox boss Roger Ailes
OPINION: Revenge is finally at hand for Lachlan Murdoch.
Nearly 11 years to the day since Rupert Murdoch's long time lieutenant, Roger Ailes, drove Lachlan from the family business, it is Lachlan who is negotiating Ailes' exit after a sexual harassment scandal that even the Fox News boss could not survive.
"I have to do my own thing," Lachlan reportedly told his father Rupert after deciding to quit News Corp and return to Australia in July 2005. "I have to be my own man."
The trigger had been Ailes going behind Lachlan's back, yet again, and getting Rupert to back a new show which Lachlan had put on the backburner.
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It was the final straw for Lachlan. Murdoch's biographer Michael Wolff detailed the glee with which Ailes and another Rupert lieutenant, Peter Chernin, boasted about pushing Lachlan out of the business.
The two men described him as "callow, insubstantial".
Ailes ended up with an office right next to Rupert. No need to guess whose office it used to be.
He gloated to a Fox News producer: "Do you know whose chair I'm sitting in? I'm sitting in Lachlan Murdoch's chair."
It took close to a decade for Lachlan return. In 2014, he was appointed co-chairman at the two Murdoch media empires created by the split following the UK phone hacking scandal.
Lachlan's years in the wilderness proved to be a mixed bag.
While News Corp prospered from his decision to acquire most of the online real estate business REA, Lachlan nearly blew his inheritance on a deal with James Packer that would have been almost as disastrous as their foray into mobile telecommunications with One.Tel.
Packer had agreed to privatise his family flagship company, Consolidated Media Holdings, with Lachlan in a $3 billion plus deal hatched as soon as Lachlan's non-compete with his family company expired.
It was only when Packer upped his asking price at the last minute that the deal was scuttled.
Packer later sold the media business into a venture with private equity group, CVC Asia Pacific. Its A$2 billion investment was wiped out in 2012 in a deal which handed the company, now known as Nine Entertainment, to its lenders.
Lachlan and Packer's follow-up plan took them on a media adventure with another Australian TV network, Ten. They have lost a modest fortune on the network, by billionaire standards, although Murdoch did manage to salvage his reputation with some savvy radio deals at what is now Nova Entertainment.
That is history now.
Two years after Lachlan's return to the family's media empires, the departure of Ailes will remove one of the last bastions of resistance to the takeover of the family business by Lachlan and his younger brother James.
- Sydney Morning Herald