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News Corp's Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from wife Wendi

(Reuters) - News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife Wendi, the company confirmed on Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife Wendi, the company confirmed on Thursday.

The reasons for the filing were not immediately clear, though a spokesman for Murdoch said the marriage had been irretrievably broken for more than six months. Murdoch, 82, married the former Wendi Deng, 44, in 1999.

The filing comes just days before the split of News Corp. into two companies, one for its entertainment assets and the other for its publishing business. Murdoch, who Forbes says is worth $9.4 billion, is to be chairman of both companies.

Analysts said the end of the Murdochs' marriage was unlikely to have an effect on the corporate separation. A person familiar with the situation said Murdoch and Deng had a prenuptial agreement.

"I doubt it has a substantial impact on the spin," Gabelli & Co. analyst Brett Harriss said, referring to the News Corp. separation. "Given that it's his third wife, I see it unlikely that he didn't plan for this contingency."

News Corp. shares were unchanged in midday trading.

Ira Garr, an attorney listed as representing Murdoch, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The couple has two young daughters.

To many people outside the media industry, Deng is best known for a July 2011 incident in the British Parliament, where Rupert Murdoch was testifying about a phone-hacking scandal.

More than halfway through the hearing, Deng suddenly leapt from her seat to protect Murdoch from a prankster who had slipped through a packed committee room and tried in vain to smash a shaving cream pie into Murdoch's face.

Deng intercepted him with a furious slap.

(Additional reporting by Jennifer Saba and Karen Freifeld; Writing by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Dan Grebler)