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Netanyahu Offered Israeli Daily Yedioth Ahronoth to Murdoch Family

Lachlan Murdoch, son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch, visited Israel and met with prime minister.

Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch poses for a photograph with his sons Lachlan and James in March 2016.
PETER NICHOLLS/REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to get the Murdoch family interested in purchasing the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Israel’s largest tabloid daily, TheMarker has learned.

Lachlan Murdoch, the son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch, visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, who invited him to look into the matter. It’s not clear whether Murdoch met Yedioth publisher Arnon Mozes during that meeting.

Netanyahu’s spokesman declined to respond.

Netanyahu and Mozes are currently in the middle of an investigation over allegations that the two discussed a deal that would have Mozes’ daily give Netanyahu better coverage in exchange for limiting circulation of the free daily Israel Hayom, a paper widely viewed as a mouthpiece for the prime minister.

In June, TheMarker revealed the identity of a potential buyer interested in Eliezer Fishman and Judy Nir Mozes Shalom’s shares in Yedioth Ahronoth. The potential buyer, Larry Ellison, is the founder of Oracle Corporation and the world’s fifth richest man. He held a secret meeting with Arnon Mozes during a four-day trip to Israel the previous August. Ellison made a substantial donation to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in the United States, and toured the IDF’s new Negev training base city. Ellison declined to comment about the Yedioth report.

Netanyahu also tried to interest Australian billionaire James Packer in Yedioth Ahronoth. Channel 2 recently revealed that Packer had looked into the matter, but TheMarker was told that Packer had actually been interested in acquiring the website Walla, which belongs to Netanyahu associate Shaul Elovitch.