Financial Times

Ivanka Trump’s trustee role lays bare Murdoch’s close ties to White House

by Matthew Garrahan - New York, Financial Times

February 9, 2017 | 9:42 am
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Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was a trustee for a large bloc of shares in 21st Century Fox and News Corp that belongs to Rupert Murdoch’s two youngest daughters, underscoring the close ties between the US president’s family and the mogul behind the Fox News Channel.

The president’s daughter was a trustee of Grace and Chloe Murdoch, Mr Murdoch’s children by his ex-wife Wendi Deng, during the election campaign. The girls, aged 15 and 13, hold shares worth close to a combined $300m in the two media groups, which are controlled by Mr Murdoch and his family, and an additional interest in Murdoch companies worth more than $2bn.

A spokesperson for Mr Murdoch declined to comment on Ms Trump’s role on a five-person trustee board, but several people briefed on the situation confirmed she was a trustee for several years. A spokesperson for Ms Trump told the Financial Times she stepped down from the board on December 28.

Ms Trump has no official White House role, unlike her husband, Jared Kushner, who is a key adviser to the president. However, she sat in on a White House meeting last week with top business executives.

She has been friends with Mr Murdoch and Ms Deng for several years. The New Yorker reported in August that when Ms Trump and Mr Kushner briefly broke up in 2008 before they married it was Ms Deng and Mr Murdoch who helped repair the relationship, inviting them to their yacht.

Publicly, 85-year-old Mr Murdoch has taken a back seat in the running of his two companies after giving his sons, James and Lachlan, high-profile new jobs. James Murdoch is chief executive of 21st Century Fox while Lachlan Murdoch is chairman, alongside his father – a role he also holds at News Corp.

However, the elder Mr Murdoch remains active behind the scenes and has been running Fox News on an interim basis since the departure last year of former chief executive Roger Ailes. When Megyn Kelly, the presenter who clashed with Mr Trump during the campaign, left Fox News last month, Mr Murdoch selected her replacement.

Mr Murdoch is said to be in regular contact with the new president and his daughter, according to people briefed on the situation. The close ties between the families have endured since the election, according to multiple people aware of the relationships.

 

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by Matthew Garrahan - New York, Financial Times

February 9, 2017 | 9:42 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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