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Wendy Deng, Rupert Murdoch's Ex-Wife, Is Betting Heavily on High Tech

Scott Lucas | February 21, 2014 | Story Tech World

Forget affairs with former heads of government. Those are so 2000's. Let's talk about tech guys.

The bombshell piece in this month's Vanity Fair about the divorce between News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, whose media holding include Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and HarperCollins, and his wife Wendi Deng is filled with juicy details that paint a highly unflattering picture of the Chinese-born Deng. She is alleged to have had an affair with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (who is apparently some kind of sex god?), to have physically assaulted the much-older Murdoch during one of their regular fights, and to have helmed the spectacular business flame out that was Murdoch's move into the Chinese market.

And although it's the alleged Tony Blair affair that has attracted the most attention, let's highlight another sub-plot in the article: her ties to several prominent men in Silicon Valley like Google's Eric Schmidt, Oracle's Larry Ellison, and MySpace's Chris DeWolf. Deng isn't an alleged homewrecking, abusive, social climber. She's an alleged homewrecking, abusive, social climber who's betting heavily on high-tech new media.

You go girl.

Here are the most disruptive details from Vanity Fair:

How Murdoch's suspicion of Deng's affair with Eric Schmidt lead him to file for divorce: After Murdoch caught wind of a supposed Deng-Blair assignation, he began to notice other alleged daliances, including "[a]n alleged overnight stay by Wendi at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Eric Schmidt [...] 'She left with an overnight bag and came back the next morning in the same clothes, and the workout clothes were untouched. There was a valet tag on her car that said ‘BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL AND BUNGALOWS,’ and it had Eric Schmidt’s name on it.' (Eric Schmidt declined to comment. However, someone familiar with the parties said, 'Many people know that the Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the places where Eric Schmidt regularly stays in L.A. So something connecting him to the hotel isn’t proof of anything.') These accounts, according to the source, led Murdoch to file divorce papers last June."

Deng had an alleged affair with MySpace's Chris DeWolfe while DeWolfe's wife was pregnant: "Chris said, ‘Do you want to go to dinner with Wendi and Rupert?’ ” remembers Lori DeWolfe, the estranged wife of Chris DeWolfe, the co-founder of MySpace, who was later alleged to be one of Wendi Deng’s lovers. They met at Matsuhisa in Los Angeles [...] News Corp. had acquired MySpace and its parent company, Intermix, for $580 million the year before, and the Web site’s monthly users had since grown from 21 million to 54 million. At the dinner to discuss the retreat, Lori was eight months pregnant. "I said, 'That’s when our baby is due,' and Wendi said, 'Oh, Chris’ll just fly back for that. Ha ha.'"

Deng, or someone close to her, managed to kill a LA Times story about her and DeWolfe: "With the new company and the increasing closeness between Wendi and DeWolfe came suspicions, even at the Los Angeles Times, which reportedly was persuaded by News Corp. to kill a story about their purported affair."

Hanging out with the Google guys and Larry Ellison: "[Deng and Murdoch's] circle of friends soon included David Geffen, Larry Ellison, Bono, Sergey Brin and Larry Page (whom Wendi called “the Google guys”), Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, Sarah Brown (wife of former British prime minister Gordon Brown), Queen Rania of Jordan, Barbara Walters, Vera Wang, and Arianna Huffington."

After the divorce, she's back on the market: "One insider says that she is also planning to invest in the single area in which her husband has routinely, and expensively, failed: technology. 'Wendi has moved on,' says the insider. 'She’s setting herself up to be a digital-technology investor and is taking meetings with cool start-up digital companies that need investors.'"

With God as her witness, tomorrow is another day: "Someone who knows them both says, 'I put my money on her. Because she’s ruthless! The perfect ending of the story is she invests in 20 companies and one of them becomes Facebook. That’s the perfect revenge, because that is the one area where Rupert has failed. MySpace is one of News Corp.’s worst investments. He paid $580 million and sold it for $35 million. He lost $545 million. So if Wendi succeeds, it is the perfect ending to the whole story. She knows the right people. Eric Schmidt? Who is better than that?'"

Read the whole article on Vanity Fair.

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