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LONDON (AP) _ Rupert Murdoch's global news empire isn't the only thing that's expanding _ his family is, too. At 70, the News Corp. magnate is about to become a father for the fifth time.

A News Corp. spokesman confirmed Thursday that wife Wendi Deng is expecting the couple's first child.

``We can confirm that Mrs. Murdoch is pregnant,'' said the spokesman, who spoke on condition he not be named. ``She and Mr. Murdoch are delighted at the news.''

Murdoch and Deng married in 1999, after he divorced his second wife Anna. He had four children during that 31-year marriage.

Murdoch commented a few months after marrying Deng that any new offspring would not change succession plans for his global empire, which includes The New York Post, FOX Television, HarperCollins Publishers and The Times newspaper in London.

He has also been outspoken about his interest in acquiring Hughes Electronics Corp., the largest satellite TV operator in the United States through its DirecTV operation. Gaining control of Hughes, a unit of General Motors Corp., would fill a major gap in the coverage area of Murdoch's existing satellite network.

When asked about succession in 1997, Murdoch described his elder son Lachlan, now the deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., as ``first among equals'' among his children.

Deng was a junior News Corp. executive in Hong Kong before marrying Murdoch at the age of 32.