Media magnate Rupert Murdoch became an American citizen Wednesday, which grants him the legal right to proceed with his $2-billion purchase of the nation’s largest chain of independent television stations from Metromedia.
The owner of the New York Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Herald, half of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and more than 80 newspapers and magazines worldwide pledged allegiance to the United States along with 185 other immigrants at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
U.S. officials said the Australian-born Murdoch received no special treatment, and in July he had to pass a test proving that he could read, write and speak English.
Murdoch said after the ceremony that he became a U.S. citizen “because I wanted to, and I’m very happy and very grateful.” He declined, however, to comment on whether he had become an American to complete his deal to buy the seven Metromedia TV stations.
Federal Communications Commission regulations prohibit aliens from owning more than 20% of a broadcast license. The day Murdoch announced his Metromedia deal, he revealed his plans to change citizenship.
Murdoch’s new national allegiance may cost him his two television properties in Sidney and Melbourne, Australia, however. The Australian government does not allow dual citizenship, and one cannot hold a television license there without Australian citizenship.
Murdoch’s wife, Anna, two sons and a daughter did not take the oath of citizenship.