Call it the ultimate father-daughter gesture. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. will buy his daughter’s U.K.-based television production company Shine Group for nearly $674 million.
Elisabeth Murdoch, 42, left News Corp. in 2000 as the former managing director of Sky Networks. She founded Shine, producer of popular British shows such as MasterChef and Merlin and has been on what The Hollywood Reporter calls “a major expansion drive” over the past seven years, buying up producers Kudos and Reveille, the latter of which made Ugly Betty.
In fact, selling Shine back to her dad’s conglomerate, which also owns the Times and Sun newspapers in Britain, the Fox News Channel and The Wall Street Journal, will allow Shine to prosper in what Elisabeth has characterized as “a rapidly consolidating global TV industry.” The deal also gets pop a foothold in European television, says the L.A. Times. That means he can find successful reality-show formats “and replicate them around the globe.”
According to today’s reports, a nonbinding letter of intent has been signed, and the wheels are turning for an all-cash purchase. “I look forward to [Shine] becoming an important part of our varied and large content creation activities,” said Rupert Murdoch in a statement. “I expect Liz Murdoch to join the board of News Corporation on completion of this transaction.”
Elisabeth has already been attending board meetings on an informal basis, say reports, and her official return brings the number of Murdoch kids on the board to three. Rupert Murdoch turns 80 this year, and Elisabeth’s younger brother James, 38, has long been considered the front-runner to take over the media empire. Another brother, Lachlan, 39, is also on the board but has no management role within the company. (Rupert Murdoch has two younger daughters, ages 9 and 7, with wife Wendi Deng.)
Still, an insider tells the L.A. Times, Elisabeth is “like her father with an entrepreneurial streak and an affinity for deals.” Whatever her future role within the company, it seems she’s home to stay.