Murdoch family fortunes shine on Elisabeth in £400m deal

Elisabeth Murdoch is on the verge of re-entering the fold of her father Rupert's News Corporation media empire, which is close to acquiring her television company Shine Productions in a deal worth up to £400m.

Ms Murdoch founded Shine, which produces shows such as The Tudors and Masterchef, almost exactly a decade ago and has built it into a powerhouse in the British independent television sector and a transatlantic business. She is poised to make a personal fortune from the deal from her 53 per cent stake.

Observers of News Corp's internal politics will be fascinated by the growing professional relationship between Rupert and Elisabeth, who for the past year has attended News Corp board meetings as an observer. Though she has so far declined offers to sit on the board, that position is likely to change if the deal goes through.

Ms Murdoch has never worked directly for News Corp but is a former managing director of Sky Networks, the programming arm of BSkyB (which has NewsCorp as its largest shareholder).

The acquisition will increase speculation over which of Mr Murdoch's offspring might succeed him as the head of News Corp.

The media mogul turns 80 next month, though he remains sprightly. His eldest son Lachlan, 39, was once anointed but then disappointed his father by quitting his role as deputy chief operating officer of News Corp in 2005. Younger sibling James, 38, is currently in pole position having been made chairman and CEO of News Corp Europe & Asia in 2007 following a promotion from his previous post as chief executive of BSkyB.

Until recently Elisabeth, 42, had not been thought to be in the running. During the past 10 years she has enjoyed building up her own company and has shown herself to be a skilled networker. She is a popular figure in the television industry.

Married to the influential public relations man Matthew Freud, she forms half of one of Britain's power couples. The couple used their Notting Hill home to host a London fundraiser for Barack Obama's election campaign, where the guests included Elle Macpherson, Jemima Goldsmith and Thandie Newton. Those attending Elisabeth's 40th birthday party in 2008 included David Cameron, George Osborne, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Bono and Bob Geldof.

James Murdoch, whose role includes responsibility for managing his father's stable of British newspapers, has seen his star fall recently with the resurgence of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.

The arrival at News Corp of his sister might not be a threat to his position. Tim Luckhurst, Professor of journalism at the University of Kent, said: "Bringing Elisabeth back inside the tent puts her back at the heart of decision making in News Corp.

"She will have a seat on the board alongside her brothers James and Lachlan, but I'd be astonished if she wants to replace James as their father's heir apparent. He may appreciate her wisdom and support as the phone-hacking crisis develops," said Professor Luckhurst.

The buy-up would make News Corp an even more powerful player in the British television sector at a time when its bid to take outright control of BSkyB is at risk of being referred to the competition authorities by the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Ms Murdoch may simply wish to expand the Shine business at a time when the television production sector is in a period of consolidation. She is thought to want to remain directly involved in the business and is hopeful that her father's financial resources will enable it to grow rapidly.

She set up Shine immediately after leaving BSkyB (which has a 13 per cent share in the company) and has since gone on to make a series of acquisitions within the industry, including the purchase of Kudos, makers of Life on Mars, and the American-based Reveille, producers of Ugly Betty. Neither Shine nor News Corp was prepared to comment on the possible takeover.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Business Development Manager

£25000 - £27000 per annum + Bonus: Sauce Recruitment: Within your role as Busi...

IT Graduate

£15 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are looking for an eager IT Graduate / Technology ...

Ad Director / Sales Director

£55 - 65k + 25% Y1 OTE + Fantastic Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an e...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?