News Corp. to Acquire Liz Murdoch’s Shine Group

Daddy Murdoch acquires daughter’s television production company

News Corp. announced on Monday that it intended to acquire Shine, the television production group created by Rupert Murdoch's daughter, Elisabeth, for about $670 million.

Liz Murdoch will join the board of News Corp. as a result, bringing another Murdoch scion into his empire at a time when questions about who will someday take it over run rampant. Murdoch turns 80 next month, and his son James, 38, is generally presumed to be the heir apparent.

News Corp. announced in a news release Monday that it and Shine "have reached an agreement in principle for News Corporation to acquire 100 percent of Shine Group for an enterprise value of £415 million."

The transaction was described in the release as a stock purchase.

Founded in 2001 and based in London, Shine has grown from revenues of $38 million in 2006 to about $400 million in 2009, according to the company's website.

The company focuses on television production, both scripted and non-scripted. In 2008 it purchased Reveille, producer of the hits "Ugly Betty" and "The Tudors," for $125 million. This year Shine produced Paula Abdul's "Live to Dance."

Under the deal, Shine executives will report to News Corp. chief operating officer Chase Carey.

The deal brings Elisabeth Murdoch, 42, back under the News Corp. umbrella after a decade outside of it. She worked previously for FX Networks and British Sky Broadcasting.

Her brother Lachlan, 39, resigned from the News Corporation in 2005.

Here's the complete news release.

News Corporation and Shine Group, the international television production group, announced today they have reached an agreement in principle for News Corporation to acquire 100 percent of Shine Group for an enterprise value of £415 million. The parties have signed a non-binding letter of intent and will now proceed with the regulatory filings required for the transaction. 

“This is a unique and exciting opportunity for us. Shine is a leader in the global television production business with a proven track record of developing hit shows and new formats worldwide,” said Chase Carey, News Corporation Deputy Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer.  “We have every confidence that Shine will be an important part of the expansion strategy for our worldwide TV operations.”

Elisabeth Murdoch, Chairman and CEO Shine Group said: “In a rapidly consolidating global TV industry, this alliance uniquely provides the conditions in which Shine Group can continue to lead and prosper. News Corporation is the partner that enables us to maintain our aspiration to be best in class across all our sectors, and prepares and equips us for future growth. Shine shares News Corporation's long-standing belief in creative excellence and ambitious expansion. I could not be happier or more proud that from such modest beginnings Shine will join such an extraordinary group of companies." 

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation commented:  “Shine has an outstanding creative team that has built a significant independent production company in major markets in very few years, and I look forward to them becoming an important part of our varied and large content creation activities. I expect Liz Murdoch to join the board of News Corporation on completion of this transaction."

News Corporation and Shine Group will continue to negotiate the final terms of the long-form stock purchase agreement. This will be subject to customary closing conditions including approval by the audit committee and the full board of News Corporation, receipt of an independent fairness opinion, and Shine Group board approval.   Upon successful completion of the transaction, Shine Group will report to Mr. Carey.

News Corporation(NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) had total assets as of December 31, 2010 of approximately US$57 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$33 billion. News Corporation is a diversified global media company with operations in six industry segments: cable network programming; filmed entertainment; television; direct broadcast satellite television; publishing; and other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted principally in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and Latin America.