Rupert Murdoch finalizing divorce; Wendi Murdoch keeps NY apartment

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his third wife, seen arriving together for the Academy Awards in February, are said to be close to finalizing their divorce.
(John Shearer / Invision/AP)

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, are close to finalizing their divorce, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The estranged couple has negotiated a settlement that will bring their 14-year marriage to an end.

“Rupert is very happy to have this almost behind him,” said a person close to the mogul who requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.


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A New York judge must approve the settlement. A court hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday morning, according to a report in the New York Times.

The divorce proceedings are not expected to loosen Murdoch’s tight grip on his two media companies -- entertainment giant 21st Century Fox and publishing company News Corp.

The press baron also will keep his California homes, which include a Beverly Hills estate and his new toy, the 16-acre Moraga Vineyards in the hills above Bel-Air. Murdoch purchased the vineyard this summer for nearly $29 million. The property includes an 8,000-square-foot mansion and lush gardens.

Murdoch, who filed for divorce in June, plans to maintain his primary residence in New York.

As part of the settlement, Wendi Deng Murdoch will receive the couple’s palatial penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. They purchased the residence, once owned by Laurance Rockefeller, about eight years ago for $44 million.


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After the Murdochs bought the home, they spent as much as $50 million to remodel and furnish it, according to two people close to the family.

Murdoch agreed to relinquish the residence because he wanted his two young daughters with Wendi Deng Murdoch to stay in their home, the person close to Murdoch said.

Murdoch has four adult children, products of his first two marriages.

One contentious point in the negotiations reportedly was control of company shares held by the Murdoch Family Trust. Years ago, Murdoch angered his third wife by refusing to change the structure of the trust to put his two young daughters on equal footing with his four older children.

Roughly 38% of the voting stock in 21st Century Fox and News Corp. is held by the Murdoch Family Trust, which eventually will be divided among Murdoch’s four adult children.


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Twitter: @MegJamesLAT