It was from Platinum Triangle real estate uber-insider Peter Propertyseller that we first learned that Lachlan Murdoch, the recently installed co-chairman of News Corp. and executive chairman of 21st Century Fox who’s also the presumed heir apparent of his father’s media empire, quietly shelled out $12.5 million in a covert, off-market deal for a secluded estate in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.
So the scuttlebutt goes, Murdoch and his model-TV presenter wife, Sarah O’Hare, went for a look-see at the $45 million off-market estate of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner before they settled on a 2.3-acre spread at the end of a private lane in the lower Mandeville Canyon area, which property records show was acquired through a Sydney-based corporate concern that utilizes the media scion’s initials in its name.
The estate was last available on the open market in late 2013 at a smidgen under $12 million, and marketing materials from that time show the casually luxurious, 6,000-plus-square-foot house was originally designed by vaunted California ranch house expert Cliff May and configured with a three-bedroom family wing, a two-bedroom guest wing and a guesthouse.
The living room featured a fireplace set into a solid wall of glass and a wet bar with a beer tap and walk-in wine cellar. A formal dining room gave way to an expensively outfitted eat-in kitchen that stepped down to a media lounge where a movie screen dropped out of the ceiling at the touch of a button. The mountain- and canyon-view grounds provided a broad sweep of lawn with trapezoidal swimming pool, organic gardens and a small hillside vineyard, al fresco pizza oven and vine-draped dining pergola.
The Murdochs have long made Sydney their home base, where they currently own Le Manoir, a grand Georgian mansion in the super-swank suburb of Bellevue Hill that they snatched up in 2009 for about $21 million.