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It pays to be a Murdoch, or at least be married to one

August 31, 2010 |  5:20 pm


It pays to be in Rupert Murdoch's family.

News Corp.'s latest securities filing spells out the financial arrangements between the media conglomerate Murdoch controls and of his family members for the company's fiscal year ended June 30. Murdoch's third wife Wendi, for instance, collected $92,000 in consulting fees for advising MySpace China and received options of more than 2.5% of shares in the Asian version of the social media site that vest over four years.

Elisabeth Murdoch, who is Rupert Murdoch's second-eldest daughter, no longer works for News Corp. but her television production company, Shine Group, collected $11.9 million from various production and distribution agreements with News Corp.

Also getting a check from News Corp. was Elisabeth Murdoch's husband, Matthew Freud, a public relations executive who received $350,000 in consulting fees through the end of the fiscal year. Interestingly, Freud caused a lot of tension within News Corp. earlier this year when he was quoted in the New York Times bashing Roger Ailes, chief executive of Fox News.

"I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes' horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corp, its founder and every other global media business aspires to," Freud told the paper in January.

Ailes later fired back in Company Town that Freud, who is a descendant of Sigmund Freud, "needs to see a psychiatrist." 

Murdoch's eldest daughter, Prudence MacLeod, is also on the payroll and receives a director's fee for serving on the board of Advertiser Newspapers in Australia. Her husband, Alasdair, worked for the company through January.

Sons James and Lachlan Murdoch serve on News Corp.'s board of directors. James runs the company's European and Asian operations. He collected total compensation of $10.3 million in fiscal 2010, which includes his $3.2 million base salary, a bonus of $1.7 million, stock and other perquisites -- like personal use of corporate aircraft.

Rupert Murdoch himself received $22.7 million, including a salary of $8.1 million, a bonus of $4.4 million, stock awards and other forms of deferred compensation.

Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey collected even more -- a total $26 million, which includes a $10-million signing bonus for joining the company in July 2009. The bonus compensates him for the equity he forfeited upon leaving his position at DirecTV.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: Rupert and Wendi Murdoch. Credit: Nati Harnik/Associated Press