James Murdoch To Spend Vastly Increased Fortune on Green Companies
Following the sale of a large portion of New Corp to Disney, James Murdoch is expected to start a venture capital entity that is organized by BlackRock. His main focuses, sustainability and environmentally friendly companies.
After large divestitures of some of the families main assets to Disney, a deal that netted James almost $2 billion, Murdoch has turn his focus to investing money in helping the environment. James is planning on announcing a few of his new environmental investments.
“Any business has to be about more than just capital,” Mr. Murdoch said in an interview. The Irony being that James' fortune came partially from a news outlets that was a platform for staunch climate change skeptics the outlet poured hours into news segments arguing against anybody who believed in climate change.
“Kathryn and James’s views on climate are well established, and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known,” a representative said.
James shrugged off any mention of his differences in opinion over the climate and showed that he has been a supporter of green initiatives back when he was the head of the British broadcaster Sky when he announced, in 2006, that he was going to make Sky carbon neutral and converting its power grid to draw from renewable energy sources.
“I strongly believe, and I think James does as well, that if business is strongly disconnected from the environment, that’s wrong,” said Jeremy Deroche, Sky's current CEO
Mr. Murdoch announced that his new VC fund, Lupe Systems, will concentrate almost entirely on climate investments now after a slew of investments in Vice and comic book publisher Artists, Writers, and Artisans.
The new investment deals will be some of Lupa Systems’ first foray into green investments, where they are leading a $4 million fund-raising round for Notpla, which produces an edible food pouch called Ooho and is produced from seaweed and a biodegradable bottle manufacturer called Cove. A Notpla’s founder, Pierre Paslier, said that working with Mr. Murdoch as an investor should hopefully open contacts that they never would have had before as they enter the American market.
Mr. Murdoch said that Environmentally friendly materials present “a rich theme and a deep one, that we think is a good idea to be involved in.”
The third investment comes out of Mr. Murdoch’s participation in the Climate Finance Partnership with France and Germany which is a new venture organized by BlackRock to invest in projects like low-emission transportation and renewable energy equipment in emerging markets.
Brian Dreese, the global head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, stated Mr. Murdoch and his team “bring a valuable perspective” to the space and Mr. Knell, of National Geographic, said he expected Mr. Murdoch to keep making investments as he is no longer shackled by his family.
“He’s got a big bank account now that he can put to use without the constraints that he had,” Mr. Knell said.