News Corp. in Talks to Buy Shine

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation ( NWSA) is in talks to buy the U.K.'s largest independent production company, Shine Group, from his daughter Elisabeth, the Guardian reported.

Elisabeth Murdoch has called on JPMorgan ( JPM) to advise her in talks with her father about a possible sale of Shine, which she founded in 2001.
News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch

A Shine spokesperson told the Guardian that while JPMorgan will advise Murdoch on "strategic options and growth opportunities," it may not result in a sale. Shine is also looking into potential acquisitions.

"Whilst we would not comment on speculation, Shine Group can confirm that given the current consolidation within the international production sector, the company has appointed JPMorgan to advise it on its strategic options and growth opportunities," the spokesperson told the Guardian.

The production company makes a number of popular television shows such as MasterChef and Merlin, and operates production groups in several countries including the U.K., U.S., France, Germany and Australia.

Shine's revenue grew to £258 million, or nearly $409 million, in 2009, from £239 million, or about $379, the year earlier. Revenues are expected to come in around £400 million, or $634 million, for 2010.

Elisabeth Murdoch owns close to 60% of Shine, Sony ( SNE) owns about 20%, British Sky Broadcasting holds a 13% stake in the company while management controls the remaining portion.

News Corp. is currently waiting on regulatory approval on its bid to buyout BSkyB for approximately $12.4 million.

News Corp. shares are down 0.8% to around $14.00 in morning trading.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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