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A new Discovery? Rupert Murdoch wants more ... and more

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Rupert Murdoch turns 84 in a few weeks, but this has not stopped his overwhelming desire to acquire more assets, writes former News Ltd executive Rodney E. Lever.

RUPERT MURDOCH entered the newspaper business only because his father was a newspaperman of considerable experience. The young Oxford graduate with the third class degree, Rupert had virtually no experience in newspapers and the rubbish he turned out hardly qualified among the great papers of the English language.

Even once great world newspapers like The Times of London and the Wall Street Journal have become very ordinary under his management.

Scandal, abuse, sexual deviations and the pursuit of his personal political views was all he offered. His newspaper career has virtually ended now, at least in Australia, with a drastically falling readship. His deep obligations to the Republican Party in America left him with burnt fingers sometimes, but still plenty of money to throw around, as well an ability to borrow as much as he needed whenever he needed it.

Some new revelations have exposed where Rupert, about to reach his 84th birthday in a few weeks, might be going next. He still has an obsession to promote himself as some kind of clever and talented media giant.

His 21st Century Fox entertainment company in America has a new factor in the recent entry of the wiley billionaire Warren Buffett, who has been loading himself with 21st Century Fox shares, as usual without revealing why.

Oil prices have been falling and wise investors everywhere are looking elsewhere for what they call "opportunities." Most recently, Buffett startled the investor industry by selling out his $3.7 billion shares in oil giant Exxon Mobil, shares he had once said he would never sell.

His entry into Murdoch's company had his rivals puzzled until they learned a few of the things Murdoch was planning and they knew it had nothing to do with newspapers any more.  His new investments are all in major sports coverage, more movies and just about every kind of entertainment ever invented.

The key is a wish to make a wholesale takeover of the Discovery Channel, a pay TV program covering just about everything anyone could imagine and, since 1985, has grown from origins in the U.S. into a worldwide network in most countries. High quality non-fiction that people with money to spare are willing to pay for — that is the secret of the Discovery's success.

While Murdoch's wish might be to have his sons, Lachlan and James, as the principal managers of Discovery Communications, he has also formed a suspicious new relationship with the American multi-billionaire John Malone, who is ten years younger than Rupert and who does already own a parcel of Discovery shares.

Murdoch and Malone have shared in many enterprises in the past and have frequently fallen out. They do not trust each other, but it seems that they cannot work without each other. Chase Carey, head of 21st Century Fox, has also worked with Malone in earlier years and may have been a key factor in bringing them together again.

Malone's shares in Discovery are not substantial and Murdoch is being coy about whether he has any at all,  but the evidence suggests that he is on a slow patient role to attempt a major takeover, as is his established technique. All or nothing, is his motto in such big and greedy ventures.

Whatever we may think of Rupert Murdoch, even at an age where most of us are long ago retired, he just cannot help himself from wanting more, and more .... and more.

You can follow Rodney E. Lever on Twitter @RodneyELever.

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