The question on a lot of people’s minds as word comes today that Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng have finalized their divorce is: Who gets the business? The answer: We don’t know.
However, it appears unlikely that any real power will change hands.
"No terms of the settlement were released," ABC News reports, adding: "The couple have been married 14 years, and have two young daughters. The divorce is the third for Murdoch, 82, who has four adult children from his previous marriages."
The couple appeared today in a courtroom in Manhattan to declare that they have arrived at a settlement. They said in a joint statement: "We are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce. We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters. We will not comment on this any further."
The choice of New York for the filing is no accident. ABC News quotes Michael Stutman, president of the New York chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, saying the state is a favorite location for prominent couples to divorce.
Said Stutman: "It’s favored not only for the deference it gives to prenuptial agreements, but also because it’s one of only a few states where the divorce filings are not open to the public. You can’t go to the county clerk’s office and pull out the Murdoch divorce file. In California, it’s all public record. All the juicy stuff is there."
Stutman added that in New York, whatever is in the prenup agreement tends to hold up. "I’m not sure there would have been fertile ground for any real disagreement," he said. "The prenup tends to rule the day. That’s likely why he filed here."
ABC News adds: "Forbes estimates the Murdoch family’s wealth to be $13.4 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal (which Murdoch owns), the divorce will not have any effect on succession plans for the two businesses the family controls through a family trust: News Corp. and 21st Century Fox."
The report also notes: "The Journal says that Murdoch had not just one prenup but two — plus two postnups. The fact that these agreements are in place, says the paper, means that Murdoch’s divorce from Deng, 44, should be less costly for him than the $1.7 billion he reportedly had to pay second wife Anna Torv."