What is Elisabeth Murdoch’s Net Worth?
Elisabeth Murdoch is a British American television industry and international media executive who has a net worth of $1.375 billion. The daughter of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, she founded the international television production and distribution company Shine Group in 2001. In 2019, Elisabeth Murdoch founded another global production company called Sister.
After graduating from college Elisabeth she started her career as a manager at her father’s FX Networks. It was in 1994 that Murdoch made her first acquisition together with her then husband, Elkin Kwesi Pianim, buying a pair of NBC-affiliate television stations, KSBW and KSBY, in California using a $35 million loan provided by her father. In less than a year and a half, the pair re-arranged and re-sold the stations at a $12 million profit. Next, Elizabeth moved with her husband to England, where she landed a key role in BSkyB, where her father shared the CEO position with Sam Chisholm at the time. Eventually, she took over the position of a Managing Director and during her tenure BSkyB became one of the most profitable companies in the UK. However, she went on to veer out on her own as a television and film producer in London, following a public quarrel with Chisholm. After a futile attempt to set up a film and production unit similar to BBC Films and Film4 Productions, Elisabeth successfully established Shine Limited in March 2001. She owns 80% of the company, with 15% of the shares are owned by Lord Alli and 5% owned by BskyB. In 2011, she sold Shine to News Corporation, but she is still Chairman and CEO at Shine.
Early Life and Education
Elisabeth Murdoch was born on August 22, 1968 in Sydney, Australia to media tycoon Rupert and writer Anna. She was named after her grandmother, a philanthropist. For her education, Murdoch went to the Brearley School in New York City, and then to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.
Murdoch started her career as a manager of program acquisitions at the cable television company FX Networks, which was owned by her father. Later, using a $35 million loan from her father, she and her then-husband bought the California NBC affiliate stations KSBW and KSBY.
After moving to the United Kingdom, Murdoch went on to work with her father at the British broadcaster and telecommunications company BSkyB, which was experiencing financial problems at the time. There, she served as second-in-command to television executive Sam Chisholm, who was put in charge of managing the company’s daily operations and cultivating its subscriber base. The strategy worked, as BSkyB became the United Kingdom’s most profitable company by the time of Chisholm’s departure. Subsequently, Murdoch became the new managing director. During her tenure, she oversaw the successful £12 million sponsorship of London’s troubled Millennium Dome. However, she also courted controversy for brokering her father’s failed £623.4 million bid for the champion Manchester United football team. Murdoch left BSkyB in 2000.
In early 2001, Murdoch founded Shine Group, a global television production and distribution group. Comprising over 20 production companies across multiple countries, the group is responsible for creating both scripted and non-scripted content. Some of its divisions include Kudos, Dragonfly, Princess Productions, and Metronome Film & Television, which is the largest production company in the Nordic region. Shine Group also includes Shine 360°, a commercial rights division. Globally distributed programs from the group include the reality competition series “MasterChef,” “The Biggest Loser,” and “Minute to Win It,” as well as such drama series as “The Bridge,” “Grantchester,” “Humans,” “Broadchurch,” and “Utopia.”
In 2011, Shine Group was acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation for $415 million. This controversial purchase elicited widespread cries of nepotism, with many of News Corporation’s shareholders suing the company. Later, in 2014, Shine Group merged with Apollo Global Management’s Endemol and Core Media to form Endemol Shine Group. The new company distributed such programs as “Big Brother,” “Peaky Blinders,” “Black Mirror,” and “Tin Star.” In the summer of 2020, Endemol Shine Group was acquired by the French company Banijay.
Other Business Endeavors
During her career, Murdoch has served on the organizational boards of a number of companies, including the data and software firm Afiniti. She also established a new global production company called Sister in 2019. Headquartered in London with offices in Los Angeles, Sister is executive-chaired by Murdoch.
Murdoch has been married multiple times. Her first husband was fellow Vassar College alum Elkin Kwesi Pianim, an associate in the New York corporate finance department of the Rothschild investment bank. The pair got married in 1993, and had two daughters named Cornelia and Anna. Murdoch and Pianim eventually divorced in 1998. A few years later, in August of 2001, Murdoch wed PR executive Matthew Freud, the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud. The couple had homes in both Oxfordshire and London. They had two children together before divorcing in 2014. Murdoch married her third husband, artist Keith Tyson, in 2017.
A dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, Murdoch lives in the St John’s Wood district of London, where she purchased a home in 2014 for £38.5 million. In 2022, she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to the arts and philanthropy.