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Elisabeth Murdoch steps down from family media empire

Elisabeth Murdoch
Press Association

Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth is set to leave the family media empire, stepping down from the helm of 21st Century Fox subsidiary Shine Group, which she founded in 2001.

She served as chief executive of the British television production company, which delivers shows such as MasterChef and The Biggest Loser, until 2011, when her father’s company bought the business.

She has since served as a chairwoman.

It won’t be the first time the third-gen has left the family business fold – Elisabeth stepped down from British Sky Broadcasting to found Shine.

Her departure comes ahead of a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and private equity group Apollo Global Management, which will see Shine Group merge with Endemol and Core Media Group.

The 2011 sale of Shine Group to 21st Century Fox was the subject of a lawsuit, whereby several major US shareholders unsuccessfully tried to sue Murdoch, claiming he overpaid for the business in an act of nepotism.

News Corp paid $673 million for the company, from which Elisabeth pocketed $214 million. Shareholders said they were kept in the dark about the true state of the company’s finances.

In recent years, Elisabeth has had a less prominent role than her two brothers, James and Lachlan, at the media empire, which last year was split into a broadcast division, 21st Century Fox, and a publishing division, News Corp.

At the 2012 Edinburgh International Television Festival, Murdoch said she had no ambitions to one day run the multi-billion dollar family business.

Elisabeth has publicly criticised her brother James in the past for his handling of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, whereby reporters at the News Corp-owned newspaper were found to be illegally tapping into the phones of celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

James' succession hopes were crushed when his reputation was heavily tarnished by the scandal, and last year a secret recording of Murdoch revealed he saw Lachlan or News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson as his most likely successor.

Rupert Murdoch also has a daughter to his first wife, Patricia Booker, and two daughters to his third wife, Wendi Deng, who he divorced last year.
 

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