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12 Insane Things You Never Knew About Rupert Murdoch

Who is Rupert Murdoch? You might not know his resume, but you definitely know his work. The Australian-born businessman has turned media into a lucrative empire, with holdings all over the world. From The Wall Street Journal to 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins to Fox News, Murdoch has ties to them all.

His biography is the stuff of CEO legend. Murdoch's tremendous power can make or break politicians, frame news narratives at the stroke of a checkbook, and change once-trusted sources of information into founts of sensationalism and tabloid headlines.

(We're not saying he's a supervilain, but he does have supervillain-esque levels of of wealth, power and influence.)

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  • MySpace Was One Of His Biggest Failures

    Photo: Oxfam America / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    In 2005, Murdoch bought MySpace for $580 million. Despite its early promise, the social networking site could never compete with Facebook; in 2008, the website had over 100 million users, but by 2011, that figure had fallen to 30 million. In the end, Murdoch sold the website to Justin Timberlake and other investors for just $35 million.

  • A Massive Scandal Damaged His Reputation

    Photo: World Economic Forum / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Murdoch was forced to close his first British paper, News of the World, in 2011. News broke that reporters and editors at his papers The Sun and News of the World had hacked the voicemails of murder victims' families and political figures, embroiling the media mogul in a scandal that greatly hurt his public image. In meetings that were intended to be private, Murdoch met with the families to apologize for the behavior of his journalists. 

    Later, tape emerged that showed Murdoch may not have been as contrite in the well-publicized private meetings as he let on. On the recordings, Murdoch commented that the practices his writers used in bribing police officers were common for British media - even though he previously testified to the British Parliament that he had no knowledge of such actions by his employees.

  • He Had The Most Expensive Divorce Of All Time

    Photo: Monika Flueckiger, World Economic Forum / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Divorce is usually expensive - but for Murdoch, his 1999 divorce from Anna Murdoch Mann ended up being the most costly divorce ever. The media mogul and his wife separated after 32 years of marriage, and she was awarded a settlement of $1.7 billion. Most of the settlement was in assets, and Mann was awarded $110 million in cash.

  • An Activist Threw A Pie In His Face

    Photo: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    You don't get to where Murdoch is by playing nice, and he's attracted his fair share of anger along the way. In 2011, after testifying before the House of Parliament about the News Corporation phone hacking scandal, Murdoch was pied in the face by Jonathan May-Bowles. The protester lobbed a shaving cream pie to illustrate his displeasure.

    Though May-Bowles was aiming for the billionaire, Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng shielded her husband and pushed the pie thrower away. In the end, May-Bowles was sentenced to three weeks in prison and paid a small fine.