Two of Rupert Murdoch’s adult children are in the news for deals they’ve cut to build their own media empires. Lachlan Murdoch has teamed with James Packer to take Australia’s Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH) private for 3.3 billion Australian dollars (2.9 billion US). His sister Elisabeth, meanwhile, is buying Reveille, the powerhouse TV production company, for more than 125 million from NBC Entertainment Co-Chairman Ben Silverman and his partners.
Lachlan’s deal unites him with the scion of another Australian media family. Packer already owns 37% of CMH, which is more a media investment company than an actual media company itself. Among other things, it owns 25% of Australia’s Nine Network, 25% of the Foxtel pay TV service, 25% of the ACP magazine group and 50% of Premier Media, a sports programming company that uses the name Fox Sports. The bid to buy out the public shareholders of CMH was about 24% above the pre-bid stock price. Packer has stepped aside from his position as Deputy Chairman to allow the independent directors of CMH to evaluate the offer.
Elisabeth Murdoch is greatly increasing the size and scope of her production company, Shine Group, with the deal to buy Reveille. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that she’s gotten a financial infusion from BSkyB, the British satellite TV company run by brother James Murdoch, to help fund her company’s rapid expansion. Shine will reportedly pay 125 million up front for Reveille, with additional payments based on future results which could take the total to 200 million. Selling Reveille eliminates a conflict of interest for Silverman, who did not immediately divest his interest in the production company after taking the NBC Universal post. Reveille produces shows for NBCU and several of its competitors, including “Ugly Betty,” “American Gladiators” and “The Office.”