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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch owns a piece of Uber

The billionaire has a minority stake in the company, but even a half-percent share would amount to something close to $300 million.

Business Leaders Converge In Sun Valley, Idaho For Allen And Company Annual Meeting Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch owns a minority stake in ride-hail giant Uber, multiple sources tell Recode.

The media mogul, who effectively controls both News Corp (publisher of the Wall Street Journal) and 21st Century Fox (which owns Fox News), personally owns a small piece of the startup, currently valued at about $62.5 billion.

Murdoch himself is worth over $12 billion, according to Forbes, and while the exact size of his Uber investment is not clear, even a half-percent ownership would amount to over $300 million.

Murdoch isn't listed on the company's cap table but owns a stake through an investment vehicle, according to sources.

Representatives for Murdoch and Uber declined to comment.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has talked fairly openly with insiders about Murdoch's investment, according to one former Uber employee. Given Murdoch's long focus on media, his involvement in the startup is unusual. At the same time, Kalanick's willingness to mention Murdoch highlights what he sees as the value of the media executive's connection.

Murdoch's previous tech investments haven't always worked. He famously mismanaged Myspace, the social network he bought for $580 million in 2005 only to sell it six years later for $35 million. He called his acquisition of the company "a huge mistake."

Murdoch nonetheless forged a media empire that includes two major media companies together worth over $60 billion. His cable networks (in addition to Fox News, he also owns FX and sports network FS1) and his newspapers have lately suffered declines affecting all traditional media businesses.

Kalanick, who has raised close to $11 billion to date, has had a cozy relationship with media executives in his time at Uber. Most recently, Uber partnered with Arianna Huffington, the Huffington Post editor in chief and longtime friend of Kalanick's, on a campaign to end drowsy driving, weeks before she formally joined the company's board. Since then, a report claimed the Huffington Post killed a story that would have reflected negatively on the company.

Uber's head of policy, Rachel Whetstone, on the other hand, has had a less than friendly relationship with Murdoch. During her tenure as the director of corporate communications at Google, Whetstone took Murdoch to task when the Wall Street Journal published a story that claimed the company "wielded undue political influence."

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