News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, have filed for divorce, just days after shareholders approved a plan to split the News Corp. company in two. The television and entertainment assets will be separated from the company’s much-challenged newspaper business.
Murdoch, 82, and Deng, 44, were married in 1999, and have two young children. It was Murdoch’s third marriage.
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Deng made the news most notably for an incident that occurred when Murdoch was testifying in court. Deng, who was watching, saw a person approaching with the intent to throw a pie at Murdoch. She jumped up and slapped the perpetrator in the face.
The New York Daily News reported that Deng was described as a fierce, hard-working woman, the third daughter of a factory director in China.
Diane von Furstenberg, a longtime friend, told The New York Times, “Nothing characterizes her more than that moment.
She is protective and fierce and not afraid of anything.”
A spokesperson for Murdoch reported the couple had been “irretrievably broken” for six months. The Daily News reported the Murdochs are believed to be filing for joint custody of their daughters. Murdoch married Deng just one month after divorcing his former wife Anna Maria Tory Murdoch Mann. That divorce settlement cost him $1.7 billion, including $100 million in cash, The Guardian reported.
The BBC reported that the couple had a pre-nuptial agreement and that shares are in trust for their children. Other reports indicated Deng was fighting for voting shares for her daughters, which she has not received.
Analysts don’t expect the upcoming divorce proceedings to have any impact on the split of News Corp
. The News Corp. name will continue on the publishing assets; the entertainment division will be 21st Century Fox. Murdoch will chair both companies, and be chief executive at 21st Century Fox. The company will trade separately on July 1.
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