These 15 Billionaires Own America's News Media Companies (2023)

Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington... [+] Post, on stage at the Post's "Transformers" conference in May 2016. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

News that billionaire Peter Thielis funding Hulk Hogan's trial against news website Gawker set the media and technology worlds on fire last week, sparking a conversation about theultra-wealthy's role incontrolling the news.While a billionaire secretly funding a lawsuit to take down a news outletmay be a new way of using money to influence the media business, billionaires have long exerted influence on the news simply by owning U.S. media outlets.

Some billionaires, like Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloombergare longtime media moguls who made their fortunes in the news business. Others, like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, bought publications as a side investment after building a substantial fortune in another industry. Billionaires own part or all of several of America's influential national newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times , in addition to magazines, local papers and online publications.

Several other billionaires, including Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, own or control cable TV networks that are powerful but not primarily news focused.

Here's a look at some of the billionaires who own news media in the United States:

Michael Bloomberg - Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Media

Michael Bloomberg, the richest billionaire in the media business, returned to his eponymous media company in September 2014, eight monthsafter stepping down as mayor of New York City. One notable sign of his influence on the publication: MichaelBloomberg doesn't appear on Bloomberg's Billionaires Index. FORBESpegs his net worth at $45.7 billion. Bloombergcofounded his financial data company in 1981 withCharles Zegar andThomas Secunda, both of whom are now billionaires as well thanks to their minority equity stakes in Bloomberg LP. The company expanded into business news coverage and has more than 2,000 reporters around the world. In 2009, Bloomberg LP bought Business Week magazine from McGraw Hill for a reported $5 million plus assumption of debt.

Rupert Murdoch - News Corp

Rupert Murdoch, former CEO of 21st Century Fox , the parent of powerhouse cable TV channel Fox News, may well be the world's most powerful media tycoon. He is executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox with his son Lachlan and is also chairman of News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal and other publications. Altogether, his family controls 120 newspapers across five countries. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal also owns 1% of News Corp, after cutting down his holdingsfrom 6% in early 2015.

Donald and Samuel "Si" Newhouse - Advance Publications

Donald Newhouse and his brother Samuel "Si" Newhouse inheritedAdvance Publications, a privately-held media company that controls a plethora of newspapers, magazine, cable TV and entertainment assets, from their father. Advance owns newspapers in 25 cities and towns across America and isthe country's largest privately-held newspaper chain. Conde Nast, a unit of Advance Publications, publishes magazines including Wired, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Vogue. Si stepped down as chairman of Conde Nast in 2015.

Cox Family - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cox Enterprises , owned by the billionaire Cox family, counts The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a number of other daily papers among its many media investments. James Cox, the company founder and grandfather of current chairmanJim Kennedy, bought his first newspaper, the Dayton Ohio Evening News, in 1898. The Cox Media Group Division today owns the Journal-Constitution and six other daily newspapers, more than a dozen non-daily publications, 14 broadcast television stations, one local cable channel and 59 radio stations.

Jeff Bezos - TheWashington Post

Amazon founderJeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million in 2013. Since beginning his run for president, Trump has accused Bezos of using the Post to get tax breaks for Amazon and sending reporters after Trump. Bezos denied the allegations at a tech conference at the Washington Post in May. The Post's reporters alsodefended themselves, sayingthat the paper has covered Amazon's tax problems and that the Post's editorial board's stance on taxing online retailers hasn't changed since Bezos bought the paper.

John Henry - The Boston Globe

Billionaire Red Sox owner John Henry purchased the Boston Globe in October 2013 for $70 million. Henry agreed to purchase the Globe just days after Bezos acquired the Washington Post. The Globe was previously owned by the New York Times for twenty years. At the time of his purchase, Henry said he didn't plan to influence the paper's sports coverage.

Sheldon Adelson - The Las Vegas Review-Journal

In December 2014, Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson secretly bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper's own reporting outed the billionaire buyer, who reportedly arranged the $140 million deal through his son-in-law. Since then, there have been reports of Adelson influencing coverage of himself at a newspaper that in the past was often critical of the billionaire.

Joe Mansueto - Inc. and Fast Company magazines

Morningstar CEO Joe Mansueto made his $2.3 billion fortuneat the investment and research firm he founded in 1984. Onemonth after taking Morningstar public in 2005, Mansuetobought Inc. and Fast Company magazine from G&J USA. In a statement at the time, he wrote, "I wasn't looking to buy a magazine. Or two, for that matter....I bought them because I'm passionate about their missions. Their past, present, and future contributions."

Mortimer Zuckerman - US News & World Report, New York Daily News

Real estate billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman is the owner of both US News & World Report and the New York Daily News. Zuckerman serves as chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report, which he bought in1984. In the years since, US News & World Reporthas made a name for itself with its lucrative rankings, includingBest Colleges, Best Graduate School and Best Hospitals lists. Zuckerman bought the Daily News out of bankruptcy in 1993andunsuccessfully tried to sell the tabloid newspaper for six months in 2015.

Barbey family -Village Voice

In October 2015, investor Peter Barbey bought the Village Voice, a New York City alternative weekly, through his investment company Black Walnut Holdings LLC for an undisclosed price. Barbey is a member of the billionaire Barbey family, which made its fortune in textiles and manufacturing. In 1989, John Barbey started the Reading Globe and Mitten Manufacturing Company in Pennsylvania. His son J.E. Barbey took the company, which was then known as Vanity Fair Silk Mills, public in 1951 and the family still owns nearly 20% of the company. The family has also owned a local Pennsylvania paper, TheReading Eagle, for generations.

Stanley Hubbard – Hubbard Broadcasting

Media mogul Stanley Hubbard is CEO ofHubbard Broadcasting, which has 13 TV stations, including a number of ABC and NBC news affiliates in the Midwest, and48 radio stations. In August, Hubbard bought a stake in PodcastOne, a one-stop shop app for podcasts, through Hubbard Broadcasting. Media runs in Hubbard's family; his father started Minnesota's first commercial TV station in 1923.

Patrick Soon-Shiong - Tribune Publishing Co.

OnMay 23, Tribune Publishing Co. announced that L.A. doctor and pharmaceutical billionairePatrick Soon-Shiong'sNant Capital was investing $70.5 million into the media company, making Soon-Shiongthe second-largest shareholder. He is now the vice chairman of the media company, which owns papers like The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. In an interview with CNBC, Soon-Shiong described his investment as an "opportunity to actually transform this newspaper world into this next generation." In 2014, Tribune Publishing Co. was spun out of Tribune Company , which changed its name to Tribune Media Co.Tribune Co. had previously been owned by billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell, who took control of Tribune Co. in 2007. Less than a year later, the companywentbankrupt. Four years later, Tribune Co. emerged from bankruptcy after being bought by Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co and JPMorgan Chase .

Carlos Slim Helu - TheNew York Times

The New York Times published an article last Fridaycriticizing the power that billionaires wield over media companies. One ultra-wealthy media investor not mentioned in the story: Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, who owns the largest individual stake in the Times. Slim more than doubled his stake in The New York Times in June 2015 to approximately 17% of the media company.

Warren Buffett - regional daily papers

Warren Buffett, as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway , has invested in a number of small newspapers and owns about 70 dailies today. In 2012, Berkshire Hathaway acquired 63 daily newspapers and weeklies in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabamafrom Media General for $142 million.

Viktor Vekselberg - Gawker

Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's investment arm, Columbus Nova Technology Partners, bought a minority stake in Gawker in January2016 for an undisclosed amount. The online media company took outside funding for the first time in anticipation of legal fees incurred by a lawsuit brought by wrestler Hulk Hogan, according to a leaked memo from Gawker founder Nick Denton. Hogan sued Gawker after it published a sex tape. In March a jury awarded Hogan $140 million in damages. Gawker aims to appeal the ruling.

Gallery: 15 Billionaires Who Own America's News Media Companies

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How many companies own most of the US news media? ›

Now, 90% of the media in the United States is controlled by just six corporations: AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, Newscorp and Viacom.

Who owns all the media companies in the US? ›

CBS News, owned by the CBS Corporation, is in turn owned by National Amusements. National Amusements has an 80% voting majority and also owns the major company Viacom, the company behind Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, CMT, and VH1.
Index of US Mainstream Media Ownership.
OwnershipPublicly Traded
MediumPrint and Digital
4 more rows

Which billionaire bought a social media company? ›

After months of waffling, lawsuits, verbal mudslinging and the near miss of a full blown trial, Elon Musk now owns Twitter. On Thursday night, Mr. Musk closed his $44 billion deal to buy the social media service, said three people with knowledge of the situation.

Who controls the media in the US? ›

In television, the vast majority of broadcast and basic cable networks, over a hundred in all, are controlled by seven corporations: Fox Corporation, The Walt Disney Company (which includes the ABC, ESPN, FX and Disney brands), National Amusements (which owns Paramount Global), Comcast (which owns NBCUniversal), Warner ...

Who is the richest TV owner? ›

Keith Rupert Murdoch AC KCSG (/ˈmɜːrdɒk/ MUR-dok; born 11 March 1931) is an Australian-born American business magnate.

Who owns most of the media companies in the US? ›

Who Owns the Media in the U.S.? About 15 billionaires and six corporations own most of the U.S. media outlets. The biggest media conglomerates in America are AT&T, Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, National Amusements (which includes Viacom Inc.

What are the 6 companies that own almost all media? ›

The big six media companies right now
  • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA)
  • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS)
  • AT&T (NYSE:T)
  • Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA)
  • Sony (NYSE:SONY)
  • Fox (NASDAQ:FOX)
Jan 23, 2023

Who is the largest media owner? ›

In the 2022 Forbes Global 2000 list, Comcast is America's largest media conglomerate, in terms of revenue, with The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Global, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox Corporation completing the top five.

How many media companies are owned by men? ›

The leadership of the 100 largest international media corporations is dominated by men. Thirty corporations have no women whatsoever in their top management, according to new statistics compiled by Nordicom.

Who is the largest media company in the world? ›

Comcast Corporation

What is the most valuable social media company? ›

According to an estimate, over 3.6 billion people use social media, as of 2020. By 2025, this number is expected to reach 4.41 billion people.
Most Valuable Social Media Companies in the World
  • Instagram, owned by Meta Platforms, Inc. ...
  • Weibo Corporation (NASDAQ:WB) ...
  • Bilibili Inc. ...
  • Pinterest, Inc. ...
  • Twitter, Inc. ...
  • Snap Inc.
Nov 17, 2022

Why do billionaires buy media? ›

Claire Enders, founder of Enders Analysis, said the super-rich have long sought to buy newspapers to help push their agendas and it was now possible to “count on one hand the big media brands that aren't owned by an oligarch or other billionaire”.

Does the US have any state owned media? ›

Public television has a far smaller role than in most other countries. However, a number of states, including West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and South Carolina, among others, do have state-owned public broadcasting authorities which operate and fund all public television stations in their respective states.

Who owns the most newspapers in the US? ›

The newspaper company with the most daily newspapers in the United States was Gannett as of May 2022, with 236. Tribune/News Media Group, also known as Digital First Media and owned by hedge fund Alden Global Capital, ranked third with 66 daily newspapers.
CharacteristicNumber of daily newspapers
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Nov 29, 2022

Who is the richest TV actor in the world? ›

Actress and investor Jamie Gertz is the richest actor in the world. The '80s star's net worth is estimated to be $3 billion. She is the owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team and has acted in many films and TV series throughout her career.

Who is the richest man in family? ›

The current richest family in the world is the Walton Family with a net worth of $224.5 billion.
The top five richest families in the world currently rank as follows:
  • Walton: $224.5 billion.
  • Mars: $160 billion.
  • Koch: $128.8 billion.
  • Al Saud: $105 billion.
  • Hermes: $94.6 billion.
Jan 17, 2023

What are the 3 major media companies? ›

The largest media companies include Apple, Disney, and Comcast.

Who owns USA Today? ›

Gannett Co., Inc.

(/ɡəˈnɛt/) is an American mass media holding company headquartered in Tysons, Virginia, in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. It is the largest U.S. newspaper publisher as measured by total daily circulation. Gannett Co., Inc.

What is the biggest news company in the world? ›

Largest media and press companies by market cap
1Comcast 1CMCSA0.76%
2Thomson Reuters 2TRI0.06%
3BCE 3BCE1.14%
4Naspers 4NPSNY0.90%
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Who owns the first news? ›

History. The First was launched in October 2019 on Pluto TV, a streaming platform owned by Paramount Global. It was started in partnership with Red Seat Ventures. It offers about 45 hours of original programming a week.

What media company does Jeff Bezos own? ›

Amazon is a consumer e-commerce platform with a diversified business model spanning through e-commerce, cloud, advertising, streaming, and more.

How many companies own the world? ›

There may be 147 companies in the world that own everything, as colleague Bruce Upbin points out and they are dominated by investment companies as Eric Savitz rightly points out.

Who are the media barons? ›

Meaning of media baron in English

someone who owns and controls a large number of newspapers, television companies, magazines, etc. and is able to influence public opinion: He became one of Britain's most powerful media barons.

Who is the biggest media owner in the world? ›

In the 2022 Forbes Global 2000 list, Comcast is America's largest media conglomerate, in terms of revenue, with The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Global, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox Corporation completing the top five.

Who is the largest media owner in the world? ›

#1: Comcast Corporation – At the Top of the 10 Largest Media Companies in the World. The company was founded in 1963, in Tupelo, Mississippi, as American Cable Systems, then in 1969 moved its headquarters to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company was renamed Comcast and is now the “Big Daddy” of media companies.

Who is the most powerful media mogul? ›

Rupert Murdoch is a renowned media executive, co-chairman of the Fox Corporation, and the executive chairman of News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins, and the New York Post.

Who are the watchdogs in the media? ›

Watchdog journalism is a form of investigative journalism where journalists, authors or publishers of a news publication fact-check and interview political and public figures to increase accountability in democratic governance systems.

Who is the most influential media mogul? ›

In pictures: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch owns hundreds of publishing outlets across the world and is one of the richest and most powerful people in the world.

What family owns the most? ›

The top 10 richest families in 2022 by estimated wealth are: The Walton family with $224.5 billion. The Mars family with $160 billion. The Koch family with $128.8 billion.

Which is the world's most viewed news channel? ›

Now of the most popular channels in the world, CNN News has all programs broadcast through CNN international across 212 countries and hundreds of millions of viewers.

What is the biggest news agency in the world? ›

Founded in 1835 as Agence Havas, and changing its name in 1944, Agence France-Presse (AFP) is the world's oldest news agency, and is the third largest news agency in the modern world after the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters.

What is the media capital of the world? ›

Billed as the "Media Capital of the World," Burbank boasts more than 1,000 media and entertainment companies such as Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Netflix and Nickelodeon.


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