Rupert Murdoch Ally At Odds With Forbes’ Billionaires List
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, an ally of Rupert Murdoch whose Kingdom Holding Company shares business interests with News Corp., is in dispute with Forbes over his placement on its annual billionaires list. The magazine placed him at number 26 on its list with an estimated worth of $20B. But the prince’s office thinks that’s several billion too low. According to The Financial Times, the prince severed ties on Monday with the list, citing a “flawed” valuation method. Forbes responded that it “has been investigating the prince’s finances for several years, and will detail its findings in a feature story in the magazine” that will appear online. Kingdom Holding will continue to collaborate with the Bloomberg Billionaires index, however, which measures the prince’s wealth at $28B, which he considers more accurate. Among his holdings, the Saudi investor owns about 7% of News Corp. which in turn owns 9.09% of the Rotana media group. He’s also got a stake in Twitter and owns Paris’ George V hotel.
Oz Billionaire Bruce Gordon Could Face a Challenge in Media Shake-up
Former Paramount Television International President Bruce Gordon’s media empire could face its greatest challenge with confirmation that regional TV broadcaster Southern Cross Media is discussing a $A4 billion ($4.07 billion) merger with the newly-recapitalized Nine Entertainment Co, which owns Nine’s channels in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Gordon owns Australia’s WIN Television, the regional affiliate of the Nine Network, plus the Nine stations in Adelaide and Perth and it is the biggest shareholder in Network Ten with 14%. Southern Cross told the Australian Stock Exchange it is “reviewing a number of strategic options” but the board had not yet decided on any “preferred option.” Southern Cross is the regional affiliate of Network Ten, which recently fired CEO James Warburton and appointed Hamish McLennan, EVP in the office of News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, after steep declines in its share price, revenues and ratings. A merger potentially would Gordon’s leave WIN group out in the cold. WIN’s affil deal with Nine expired last year and is on a month-to-month contact with Nine. Southern Cross’s deal with Ten is due to expire mid-year. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has flagged plans to relax the law which forbids any company from controlling a network that reaches more than 75% of the country, which would pave the way for the Nine-Southern Cross merger. – Don Groves
Renny Harlin’s ’Dyatlov Pass’ Opens In Russia
Renny Harlin’s Dyatlov Pass Incident took $2.6M in its opening weekend in Russia. The thriller that was shot there, was released by distributor A Company and 20th Century Fox CIS on 835 screens. Alexander Rodnyansky, Harlin, Kia Jam and Sergei Bespalov are producers. Inspired by a true story that occurred in the remote Dyatlov Pass in 1959 where nine experienced hikers were found dead, their bodies emanating high levels of radiation and they and their tents were damaged savagely from the inside out, the movie follows five students out to make a documentary and solve the mystery. There’s no U.S. release info yet.