Is Lachlan Murdoch gearing up for an Oedipal struggle with the media-titan father who cut him out of the family business and exiled him to Australia? And if not, then why on earth is he buying the Hollywood Reporter?
Lachlan's investment vehicle Illyria is putting up half of a reported $70 million bid to purchase the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Brandweek, and Mediaweek from Nielsen Communications, according to the Financial Times. The other half comes from an investor group that includes James Finkelstein, the owner of
Roll Call The Hill.
The Hollywood Reporter is, to put it mildly, failing. And while Billboard is reportedly treading water, its future is bleak when one considers the fact that it is a trade journal devoted to covering a business (the music industry) that for all intents and purposes doesn't really exist anymore. The logic of paying $70 million for properties that either don't make much money or are losing money and positioned to do little else but continue losing money eludes us.
Unless you happen to be the son of Rupert Murdoch, who promised you, his eldest son, the keys to his kingdom only to leave your mother and marry a much younger woman and then cast you aside, forcing you to return to your native Australia to nurse your wounds and plot your revenge. Maybe then it makes sense to buy yourself a little spot in Hollywood from which to spit in Old Dad's eyes now and again. Prior to the Nielsen move, Lachlan's acquisitions had been decidedly boring—he purchased half of an Australian radio chain earlier this month for $110 million, and he owns a piece of an Indian cricket team.
It's also worth noting the psychodynamic implications of Lachlan's unloading of half his nonvoting shares in News Corp. earlier this month, to the tune of $23 million. He got those shares under a settlement after his father attempted to cut his children with his third wife Wendi Deng in on the family business, violating a prior agreement to leave the company in the control Lachlan and his brothers and sisters. Now he's dumping it to finance his own acquisitions, including a Hollywood rag that closely monitors the doings of Daddy's company.
Or he could just be stupid and enjoys wasting money. That's always a possibility.