Liz Murdoch to join News Corp board after TV deal

City A.M. Reporter
Rupert Murdoch has paved the way for his daughter Elisabeth to join News Corp as a senior executive on Monday by buying her television production company Shine in a £415m deal.

Liz Murdoch founded UK-based Shine, which makes shows such as Masterchef and Merlin, in 2001.

Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp owns broadcaster Fox and publishes newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and the UK's News of the World, said he expected her to join the board of News Corp on completion of the deal.

Liz Murdoch will report to Chase Carey, deputy chairman of News Corp, sidestepping her brother James, who is responsible for News Corp's European and Asian assets, and is widely seen as heir apparent to his soon-to-be 80 year old father's empire.

Claire Enders of Enders Analysis said the move would increase competition in the succession race but it did not herald Murdoch senior stepping down.

"The importance of putting his daughter on the board is that he obviously would like to have the option of one of his children taking over as chief executive, and they will no doubt perform a whole lot better breathing down each others' necks," she said. "But I don't think that's a precursor to him stepping down."

Rupert Murdoch has been involved in News Corp's bid to take full control of BSkyB, a politically charged transaction against a backdrop of a phone-hacking scandal at his News of the World newspaper.

News Corp and Shine signed a non-binding letter of intent and will now proceed with the regulatory filings required for the deal, they said in a joint statement.

They will continue to negotiate the final terms of the deal, which is pending approval from both boards, the audit committee and the receipt of an independent fairness opinion.

The companies did not provide an expected date for the deal to close.