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Murdoch gives his children £50m each

The media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has shared some of his fortune with his six children by granting them each shares worth more than £50m, the biggest redistribution of his wealth yet.

The head of News Corporation has given 4.4m shares to his offspring - the youngest of whom is just three - according to documents filed with US financial regulators. The allocation will not give the children a chance to control any of his business affairs, however, because the stock does not give them voting rights.

A News Corp spokesman said the gifts were simply "normal financial planning".

Mr Murdoch, 75, has said he would like to leave control of the company within his family, but it is unclear which of the children will claim the mantle. One son from his second marriage, Lachlan, 35, left the company in 2005 and moved to Australia, though he remains on the board. James, Lachlan's younger brother and head of BSkyB, is widely regarded as the frontrunner. Their sister Elisabeth is CEO of the independent TV production company Shine.

Mr Murdoch also has a daughter, Prudence, from his first marriage, and two children - Grace, five, and Chloe, three - with his present wife, Wendi Deng.