Who Owns What | Columbia Journalism Review: TIMELINE

by peterjukes

1915

William Fox leads successful fight against Thomas Edison’s Motion Pictures Patents Company. The Patents Company is dissolved in the face of anti-trust legislation.

1931 (March 11)

Rupert Keith Murdoch is born in Australia. Father, Keith Murdoch, is an established newspaper man in the country

1935

Century Pictures and Fox Film merge to form 20th Century-Fox

1952

Murdoch inherits Adelaide News, an Australian mid-size daily, and the Adelaide Sunday Mail

1960

Murdoch’s Australian newspaper holdings increase with the acquisition of Cumberland Newspapers, and Mirror Newspapers, Ltd., publishers of Sydney’s Daily and Sunday Mirror

1964

Murdoch launches The Australian as the first national newspaper

1969

Murdoch takes over News of the World and launches London Sun

1972

Murdoch purchases Sydney Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

1973

Murdoch purchases his first newspaper in the U.S.

San Antonio Express and News

1974

Enters the supermarket tabloid business by launching The National Star

1977

Murdoch buys New York Post for $30 million from liberal socialite Dorothy Schiff. He continues his New York buying spree by purchasing New York magazine, Village Voice and New West from Clay Felker

1979

Diversifies by acquiring Ansett Transport Industries which owns Melbourne TV station, Channel 10. Australia modifies media ownership laws to allow the deal. Critics call the move “The Murdoch Amendments”

1980

News Corp. forms

1981

Takes over Times and Sunday Times in London

1982

Buys the Boston Herald-American and changes the name to Boston Herald. News Corp. also buys Australian book publisher Angus & Robertson

1983

Sky, the first satellite TV channel launches. News Corp. buys Chicago Sun Times for $90 million

1984

Murdoch and News Corp. make take over bid of Warner Brothers but are thwarted

1985

Murdoch becomes United States citizen in order to purchase more American media outlets. Sells Village Voice. News Corp. buys TCF Holdings Inc., parent company of Twentieth Century Fox Film. In a related deal, News Corp. purchases seven television stations from Metromedia for $1.55 billion (WNEW-TV, New York; KTTV-TV, Los Angeles; WFLD-TV, Chicago; WTTG-TV, Washington, DC; KNBN-TV, Dallas; KRIV-TV, Houston, WFXT-TV in Boston. These stations reach 22% of all television households in the United States. These two deals help to form backbone of a new broadcast television network

1986

Fox Broadcasting Company is established. News Corp. moves its UK newspaper printing operations to new plant in Wapping. A protracted labor strike ensues. Murdoch sells Chicago Sun-Times

1987

Takes control Melbourne Herald and Weekly Times, Australia’s largest media group. News Corp. becomes world’s largest newspaper publisher. News Corp. also purchases the South China Morning Post, UK newspaper Today and United States book publisher Harper and Row. Murdoch now controlled approximately sixty percent of Australian newspapers and thirty-five percent of UK newspapers

1988

Purchases Triangle Publications (main holding TV Guide) from Walter Annenberg for $3 billion. Sells off New York Post

1989

Harper Collins is formed after newly acquired William Collins Publishing is merged with Harper and Row. The Simpsons becomes Fox Network’s first hit program. Satellite television provider Sky TV is launched.

1990

– BSkyB is formed after Sky merges with British Satellite Broadcasting. Accumulation of large debts leads News Corp. down the road to bankruptcy. Citibank, the company’s prime lender, takes active role in saving News Corp.

1991

News Corp. undergoes massive sell off to help lower corporate debt. The properties sold off include: New York, Seventeen, Soap Opera Digest, Soap Opera Weekly, Premiere, and Daily Racing Form

1992

Buys broadcasting rights for the Premier League, an Australian rugby league, for $300 million

1993

Gains controlling interest in Asian satellite television service, Star TV. Acquires the right to broadcast NFL games. The move shakes up American sports television as it leaves the NBC network without football coverage. Obtaining the NFL broadcasting rights costs over $1 billion but seen as a necessary investment to help promote fledging Fox Network. News Corp. reacquires New York Post

1996

HarperCollins sells its education unit to Pearson

1997

Acquires Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodgers stadium from the O’Malley family for $311 million

1998

Orders HarperCollins to squash the memoirs of Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last governor and vocal critic of the Communist China government

1999

Acquires William Morrow and Avon Books in a deal with Hearst

2001

Sells stake in Fox Family Network to Disney. Duopolies established in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., and Houston

2002

Duopolies established in Chicago and Orlando

2003

Puts LA Dodgers up for sale. Spends $6.6 billion for stake in Hughes Electronic, the parent company of DirecTV

2004

Los Angeles Dodgers sold to real estate developer Frank McCourt for $430 million

via Who Owns What | Columbia Journalism Review.

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