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Murdoch’s son to run Consolidated

Australian media mogul's heir in joint venture

Two years after ankling News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son Lachlan is plotting a spectacular return to the media industry at the helm of an A$3.3 billion ($2.9 billion) joint venture with the late Kerry Packer’s son, James.

Duo is finalizing the takeover of Packer’s majority-owned Consolidated Media Holdings, Australia’s second-largest media company, which has a 25% stake in pay TV platform Foxtel, a stake in the Nine Network and in Oz’s biggest magazine stable, ACP magazines.

Murdoch and Packer’s private companies will each take a 50% stake in CMH. It was formed just three months ago when Packer split his father’s company Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. (PBL) — of which he owns 38% — into a media arm (CMH) and a gaming arm (Crown).

Trading in CMH was halted Monday morning.

Murdoch fils recently served out the non-compete clause imposed on him after he quit as News Corp. deputy chief operating officer in 2005 and returned to Australia. He retains a seat on the News Corp. board.

Packer and Murdoch’s significant previous business foray was a disastrous investment in telco One.Tel, which collapsed in 2001 mired in debt amid accusations of mismanagement.