2016 was a wild year for many reasons and the media has played a key role in that craziness. In the U.S., many, if not most, traditional media outlets such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Washington Post are owned by billionaires. This isn't a new thing; billionaires have long influenced the news just by owning the medium. Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg have been in the news business for decades. Other billionaires, like Jeff Bezos and Sheldon Adelson are new to it. Let's take a look at some of the billionaires who own media outlets.
The Boston Globe
Net Worth: $1.2 billion
John Henry began his career trading agricultural futures and opened his own company, John W. Henry and Company, in 1981 in Irvine, California. Henry bought the Boston Red Sox in 2002 with the goal of "breaking the Curse of the Bambino." In October 2010 Henry's Fenway Sports Group took over Liverpool F.C. He bought the Boston Globe in October 2013 for $70 million just days after Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post.
The Wall Street Journal
Net Worth: $13 billion
Australian-born Rupert Murdoch owns News Corp. He inherited the Australian media company formerly known as News Limited from his father in 1952. This became the foundation of News Corp, which today is the world's second-largest media conglomerate and includes The Wall Street Journal, book publisher HarperCollins, and 21st Century Fox, among others. The Murdoch empire includes 120 newspapers in five countries.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Net Worth: $17 billion
Anne Cox Chambers is the sole surviving daughter of James M. Cox, the founder of privately held media conglomerate Cox Enterprises. Cox inherited her father's business interests and she is the majority owner of the media giant. She worked in the family business in various capacities for decades. She held a seat on the board of the company that includes such subsidiaries as Cox Communications (broadband and cable), Cox Media Group (newspapers, TV and ration stations), Manheim (car auctions), and AutoTrader.com well into her 90s. Cox Media Group owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Las Vegas Review Journal
Net Worth: $25.9 billion
COMDEX founder and Sands Corp owner Sheldon Adelson made waves when he acquired The Las Vegas Review-Journal in December 2014. He tried to keep his identity under wraps, but the newspaper's own reporters uncovered his identity and outed the casino mogul as the new owner. Adelson has been accused of trying to influence the news coverage, especially about himself, ever since he bought the RJ.
Net Worth: $36.5 billion
After a stint as the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg is back at the helm of the company he founded in 1981. Bloomberg was a partner at the investment bank Salomon Brothers. In 1998, Travelers Group bought out Salomon Brothers and Bloomberg was let go during the buyout. Luckily, he was given a hefty severance check, which he used to start his own company, Innovative Market Solutions. The company, which he later renamed Bloomberg, L.P., is a financial software, data, and media company. In 2009, Bloomberg LP expanded into business news coverage with the purchase of Business Week magazine. Bloomberg employs more than 2,000 reporters across the globe.
The New York Times
Net Worth: $52 billion
Mexico's richest person is but one owner of the New York Times. He holds the largest individual stake in the Times. In 2008, Slim shocked the business world when he purchased a 6.4% stake in the New York Times Company. In 2009, when the global recession and declining print journalism industry took a heavy toll on the print-based media, Slim loaned the Times $250 million. This infusion of cash, along with other strategic adjustments by Times management, steadied the company's finances, and the Times repaid the loan, plus 14% interest, ahead of schedule. Slim and his family have purchased additional shares, raising their stake in the company to about 17%.
The Washington Post
Net Worth: $70 billion
Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million. Of course Bezos is more famous for Amazon.com. He famously wrote the business plan for what would become Amazon during a cross country road trip with his wife. He single-handedly revolutionized the way we buy books—and after a while, also everything else under the sun from deodorant to chandeliers to scripted streaming television. These days his focus is on the Washington Post as well as his space exploration company Blue Origin.