Rupert Murdoch pays a sky-high £22m for Fifth Avenue penthouse and sets record

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The Independent US

Rupert Murdoch is moving. The owner of News Corporation was said yesterday to have offered $44m (£22m) for an elegant, three-level penthouse apartment facing Central Park on Manhattan's fashionable Fifth Avenue. If the deal goes through, it will be the highest price paid for a city residence.

Rupert Murdoch is moving. The owner of News Corporation was said yesterday to have offered $44m (£22m) for an elegant, three-level penthouse apartment facing Central Park on Manhattan's fashionable Fifth Avenue. If the deal goes through, it will be the highest price paid for a city residence.

Described by New York estate agents as the "best of the best" among the city's available dwellings, it was formerly owned by Laurence Rockefeller, who died, aged 94, in July. With three terraces, it faces the entrance to the Central Park Zoo on one of the grandest stretches of the avenue. Not that the deal is done yet. Neither Mr Murdoch nor his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, would comment yesterday. While the offer was accepted by Mr Rockefeller's estate on Monday, no contract is yet signed. Moreover, Mr Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng, have yet to be approved by the building's co-op board. That is a hurdle they are likely to pass easily, however.

Nothing is modest about the apartment, which extends between floors 14 and 16 at 834 Fifth Avenue, on the corner of 64th Street. Built in 1931, it has 8,000 sq ft of space, not including the terraces, high ceilings and 20 rooms, including a library and a solarium.

Just as extravagant is the financial commitment. Mr Murdoch, who has an estimated private worth of $7.8bn, came forward with the full asking price. Assuming he lands the deal, he will then have to pay $21,469 a month in maintenance fees.

Hitherto, the most paid for a single home in the city was $42.25m laid out by David Martinez, a financier, for a pair of units in the gleaming new Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, which he has since turned into one apartment.

"In my opinion it is one of the best five apartments in New York," Edward Lee Cave, an estate agent who has been inside the Rockefeller penthouse, told the New York Times.

Mr Murdoch, whose global empire extends to The Times and The Sun in London, as well as the Fox television and film-making businesses, has lived in New York's SoHo district with Ms Deng, and their two daughters, since 2000.

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