Shine, Reveille get together

Deal puts producer in Murdoch fold

CORRECTED 1:34 p.m. PT Feb. 18

LONDON -- Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine group became the latest U.K. independent producer to achieve "super indie" status Thursday as it closed its $200 million purchase of Reveille, the U.S. production shingle behind ABC hit "Ugly Betty."

The long-anticipated deal pushes Shine's value toward $500 million, putting it alongside other "super indies" including All3Media, IMG Media, TalkbackThames and Endemol. Last month at a conference in London, Murdoch said that being a mid-sized indie was "an uncomfortable place to be."

Murdoch is the older sister of James Murdoch, who until recently was CEO of BSkyB. She founded Shine in 2001 after leaving Sky, where she had run the movie channels. Shines counts as its investors Sony, BSkyB and private equity firm 3i but Elisabeth holds a controlling 58% stake.

The purchase of Reveille -- which is the largest U.S. independent producer -- gives Murdoch a big foothold in the U.S. market. She said last month that the U.S. is "the main growth area" for TV and that "not to play there is to yield tremendous value."

Set up by Ben Silverman in 2003, Reveille has had success with scripted shows such as "The Tudors," the U.S. version of Ricky Gervais' hit "The Office" as well as reality fare including "The Biggest Loser."

Reveille passed into new management when Silverman was appointed co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media studios last year.

Murdoch has had expansion as part of her strategy for some time, acquiring three indies all at once -- "Life on Mars" producer Kudos, "Friday Night Project" home Princess Prods. and factual producer Firefly -- for a combined 65 million euros ($128 million) in late 2006.