Plot twist: the buyers of Cheryl Tiegs’ $14.1 million Bel Air spread are her next-door neighbors — billionaire Fox media heir Lachlan Murdoch and his model-actress wife Sarah Murdoch, property records reveal.
In case you haven’t been following the news, Lachlan and younger brother James — in a story that could have been penned by Jeffrey Archer — have been entangled in a power struggle for papa Rupert’s billions. Lachlan is the more conservative CEO of Fox Corp and co-chairman of News Corp; James, his liberal-leaning younger sibling, resigned from the board after Fox’s merger with Disney last year, which incidentally saw him grow $2 billion richer.
There’s a very good chance Murdoch’s acquisition of the Tiegs property marks his desire to create extra privacy for his main $150 million mansion next door, which he purchased last year from the estate of late media titan Jerry Perenchio. Dubbed Chartwell, that massive home was featured in the 1960 series “The Beverly Hillbillies” and ranks as one of the city’s most epic estates. At the time of his purchase, the $150 million represented the biggest residential transaction ever inked in California, though it was quickly surpassed by Jeff Bezos’ $165 million splurge (Like Murdoch, Bezos also later acquired a second property adjacent to his own monster compound.)
Clearly Murdoch plans to combine the two estates in some way, even just for using one as a guest house. Don’t be surprised if the Aussie/Brit tycoon demolishes Tiegs’ Balinese-style home to create extra gardens or another sports court for his main compound. Clearly empire building of all stripes has been on Murdoch’s mind, as the Chartwell mansion purchase included 10 contiguous acres of land in prime Bel Air, plus the 1.3-acre vacant lot immediately lot next door, which was formerly the site of Ronald Reagan’s longtime L.A. residence.
The Murdochs have been L.A. mainstays for years. Lachlan got his feet wet in the area by paying $12.5 million for a “starter” home in Brentwood’s Mandeville Canyon neighborhood while father Rupert, 88, still owns a $28 million vineyard estate in Bel Air. Not to be outdone, younger sibling James owns a $35 million mansion in the mountains above Beverly Hills that was purchased several years ago from dear old dad.