Monday, July 14, 2008

The Hearst Dynasty's Inherited Wealth In The 1990s

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

During the 1980s, the amount of inherited wealth that the Hearst media conglomerate continued to generate for the Hearst family continued to increase dramatically. In 1987, for example, the 40 or so living descendants of William Randolph Hearst I then divided up about $40 million it received from the Hearst Corporation’s barrel of net profits that year. As previously indicated, by the 1990s the Hearst Dynasty owned 100 percent of the Hearst Corporation’s stock and in 1991 William Randolph Jr. wrote that “I believe the company can remain intact and privately-owned for the next 30 years or so” and “our revenues and operating income are now triple what they were at the start of the 1980s.”

As a result of the Hearst media conglomerate’s expansion and increased profitability under Hearst Corporation’s then-President Frank Bennack’s management during the Reagan Era, by the 1990s Hearst family members were even much richer than they were at the time the SLA “arrested” Patty Hearst. As Downtown noted in its December 18, 1991 issue, Patty Hearst’s father, then-Hearst Corporation Chairman of the Board Randolph Hearst, was personally worth $875 million in 1991, as was Patty Hearst’s uncle, William Randolph Hearst Jr. Four other grandchildren of William Randolph Hearst I—David Whitmore Hearst Jr., Phoebe Hearst Jr., Millicent V. Baoudjakedji and George Randolph Hearst Jr.—were also each personally worth $440 million in 1991. [2008 update: Currently, William Randolph Hearst III is personally worth around $2.4 billion and David Hearst Jr., Phoebe Hearst Cook and George Hearst Jr. are now each personally worth around $2.1 billion.]

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Hearst’s Cosmopolitan And The Politics Of Dynastic Media Monopolization

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