All in the Family: Rupert Murdoch Soon to Buy His Daughter’s Company

  • February 9, 2011, 12:00 AM EST

After years of cajoling, guilting and bribing, Rupert Murdoch is on the verge of accomplishing one of his oft-stated business goals: getting his daughter, Elisabeth, to work for him again.

News Corporation is reportedly in the final days of discussion about acquiring Shine Group, the independent television production company—now one of the largest in the world—42-year-old Elisabeth Murdoch founded after she left News Corp. during a spat with her father more than a decade ago.

Shine is both the producer and owner of a variety of hit shows in the U.K. and the U.S., as well as one of the most significant worldwide distributors of “formats.” Shine markets reality TV concepts that have played well in the U.K. and U.S. to television markets around the world—a Croatian version of the Biggest Losers, as it were, or a Serbian Jersey Shore. In 2008, Shine acquired Ben Silverman’s Reveille Productions, one of the leading format licensors, which produces Ugly Betty and The Office.

Shine’s business is, however, not its main attraction for News Corp. Rather, Murdoch has often described to friends and associates how vital he believes his children’s active participation is to the company. During his acquisition battle for Dow Jones, Murdoch continually contrasted the Bancroft family, which owned a controlling stake in Dow Jones, and, for generations, had had scant involvement with the company, with his own children.

Three of Murdoch’s four adult children—Elisabeth, Lachlan and James—have each had management roles within the News Corp. orbit. Indeed, each, at one point or another, was slated to be his successor.

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