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Murdoch Family Scores Big Raises on Eve of Fox/Disney Deal

James Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

The Murdoch family is making out like bandits.

Rupert, Lachlan, and James Murdoch were rewarded handsomely for their decision to sell large parts of their sprawling media empire to the Walt Disney Company in a deal valued at $71.3 billion. All three family members earned massive raises on the eve of the merger’s completion — a deal, it should be noted, that is expected to result in thousands of lost jobs.

Rupert Murdoch’s compensation package swelled to $49.2 million in salary, bonuses, and other awards, according to public filings. That was nearly double the $29.3 million that he brought in during the previous year. Murdoch serves as co-executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, a conglomerate that includes 20th Century Fox, FX, and Nat Geo among its assets.

Lachlan Murdoch, the other executive chairman, also got a raise. His compensation soared to $50.7 million, up from $20.6 million in 2017. Both Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch will oversee the remaining parts of the family media empire that are not going to Disney. These channels, which include Fox News and Fox Broadcasting, are being reconstituted into a new company dubbed “new Fox.”

James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s CEO, will not be making the move along with his father and brother. But he got quite a sendoff. James Murdoch’s total compensation climbed to $50.3 million, an increase from the $20.3 million that he brought in during the prior year.

In a proxy filing, the company’s directors justified their decision to reward the Murdoch clan with massive raises, writing that they were “critical to the completion” of the Disney deal and lauding them for delivering “strong company performance during a time of substantial change.”

It’s been a good summer to be a Murdoch. 21st Century Fox may have come up short in the auction for control of European pay-TV heavyweight Sky, but its shareholders are getting quite a consolation prize. The company announced this week that it will offload its longtime 39% stake in Sky to Comcast for more than $15 billion, after the U.S. cable giant lodged the highest bid in the auction.