News Corp. mulls Shine bid

JP Morgan to advise TV group on 'strategic options'

LONDON — Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is weighing up a takeover of his daughter Elisabeth Murdoch’s global production and distribution outfit Shine Group, worth around $1 billion and whose successful shows include “Masterchef.”

A report in the U.K. newspaper the Daily Telegraph suggests that talks between the two parties are “progressing well.”

BSkyB, which is controlled by News Corp., owns 13% of Shine, while Sony holds 20% and Elisabeth Murdoch herself controls 53%.

With Blighty’s independent sector rapidly consolidating — last year Warner Bros. concluded a deal to buy Shed — several potential buyers are believed to have eyed up Shine in recent months.

Shine is estimated to be worth between £600 million ($949.9 million) and £800 million ($1.27 billion).

JP Morgan has been appointed to advise on “strategic options and growth opportunities,” but the move may not necessarily lead to a sale.

A Shine spokesman said: “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 JP Morgan to advise it on its strategic options and growth opportunities.

“Whilst this may or may not result in a transaction, until any conclusions are reached there will be no further comment.”

Murdoch founded Shine in 2001 and following a slow start has built the company through an ambitious program of acquisition.

Among the shingles it has bought are U.K. drama specialist Kudos and Reveille, the U.S. producer of “The Office.”