Murdoch is taking Shine to Reveille


LONDON -- Speculation is mounting that Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Prods. is poised to make a $200 million swoop on Reveille, the production company behind "Ugly Betty" and "The Office."

Launched by Ben Silverman in 2002 with backing from Barry Diller's IAC, Reveille has been run by a quartet of executives since Silverman left in June to take a top post at NBC Universal and IAC subsequently unwound its interest in the venture.

An acquisition by London-based Shine would place Reveille within a production super-indie valued at as much as 250 million euros ($514 million), alongside blue-chip drama production house Kudos, creator of "Spooks" and "Life on Mars," which Shine acquired last year. It also owns Princess Prods. and Firefly.

The Financial Times reported Saturday that the two companies were "in the final stages of negotiation," citing people familiar with the deal. Financing for the deal was not disclosed. The paper suggested that Kudos founder Stephen Garrett could be lined up to run the Reveille operation.

Shine is majority-owned by Rupert Murdoch's daughter, who launched her own venture in 2002 after quitting as head of entertainment at satcaster British Sky Broadcasting. Sony Entertainment retains 15% of the shares, while private-equity venture 3i owns 21%.

Sources close to Reveille confirmed the deal was in the works. An official rep for Reveille declined comment, citing the fact that the company is in an exclusive negotiating period.

A rep for Silverman also declined comment.