Entertainment Industry

Category: Shine Group

Calemzuk exits as CEO of News Corp.'s Shine Americas

Emiliano Calemzuk is leaving Shine

Emiliano Calemzuk, a senior executive in charge of U.S. operations at News Corp.'s television production company Shine, is exiting after just over a year on the job.

A fast-rising executive at News Corp. who held several key positions both in the U.S. and overseas for the media giant, Calemzuk attributed his departure from Shine Americas to personal reasons, and the company said the split was amicable.

"I've been a very loyal corporate soldier for a decade and a half," Calemzuk said in an intervew. "I woke up one day and decided I want to do my own thing and don't want to wait until 60." Calemzuk, 38, said he plans to take an extended vacation with his family and then after the summer will figure out his next move.

"You have to step out to be nimble again," he said.

Calemzuk signed a six-year deal with Shine in late 2010 after serving as president of News Corp.'s Fox TV Studios, a boutique production unit whose credits include the USA Network's hit drama "Burn Notice." At the time he joined Shine it was an independent company. However, in 2011, Liz Murdoch sold Shine to her father Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Shine's production credits include NBC's "The Biggest Loser," "The Office" and Fox's "Master Chef."

There are no plans to fill Calemzuk's position at Shine. In a statement, Shine Chief Executive Liz Murdoch said she respected Calamzuk's desire to leave the company.

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— Joe Flint

Photo: Emilano Calemzuk. Credit: Carlos Somonte.

 

Rupert Murdoch's compensation swells to $33.3 million in 2011

RupertMurdoch3Story

News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch continues to be one of the most richly compensated executives in America -- collecting $33.3 million for fiscal year 2011.

The 80-year-old media mogul's salary and stock package soared 46% over 2010 because of the addition of a $12.5-million bonus.  

The company's top executives have been struggling to contain widespread damage from the British phone hacking scandal. The crisis exploded in July with revelations that reporters for Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World tabloid in London eavesdropped on cellphone messages of royal family members, celebrities, sports figures, crime victims and fallen soldiers. 

Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch, who runs the company's European operations, are expected to be called before a high court later this year to account for the scandal.

Rupert Murdoch qualified for the full amount of his target bonus in 2011 because of his leadership "through the recent economic downturn, positioning the company for long-term growth and ongoing strategic development," according to the News Corp. proxy which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday morning.  The company's fiscal year ended June 30.

In 2010, Murdoch collected $22.7 million.  Each year he receives an $8.1-million base salary, an amount which has long raised the eyebrows of corporate governance experts because it is not linked to the company's financial performance.  Murdoch also was paid $8.5 million in stock awards.

His second-in-command, Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey, received $30.2 million in fiscal 2011.  Carey's compensation included a $4-million base salary, a $10-million bonus and $15.2 million in stock awards.

James Murdoch, 38, who has been under increasing pressure for his handling of the British phone hacking crisis, was paid $17.9 million.  He received $3 million in salary, $8.3 million in stock awards and a $6-million bonus.

James Murdoch's compensation soared 74% over 2010 when he received $10.3 million.  He was elevated to the No. 3 position in the company in late March -- three months before the phone hacking scandal exploded into front page news in Europe, Australia and the U.S.

James Murdoch is expected to be called back before a committee of the British Parliament to further explain his role in the scandal.  After he answered questions this summer, two former associates challenged his account of when he first learned of the widespread nature of the illegal activities at the News of the World. 

James Murdoch "played an important role during fiscal 2011 in developing the company's key businesses and investments in Europe, Asia and the Middle East," the filing said. He also "successfully transitioned into his new role as deputy chief operating officer ... expanding his responsibilities."  

Roger Ailes, chairman of the popular Fox News Channel, received $15.6 million in compensation.  That included a $5-million base salary, a $1.5-million bonus, $8 million in non-equity incentive compensation and nearly $282,000 for corporate jet privileges, a car and driver, and personal security.

Chief Financial Officer David F. DeVoe's compensation package topped $18.2 million -- more than double the $7.1 million he received in 2010.  DeVoe's compensation jumped because of the addition of a $5-million bonus and $9.5 million in stock awards.

News Corp. separately said that it was nominating James W. Breyer, a venture capitalist, to serve on the company's board of directors.  Two directors are stepping down -- Kenneth E. Cowley and Thomas J. Perkins.  Five years ago, Perkins resigned from the Hewlett Packard Co. board after that company had hired an investigator to obtain his phone records.

News Corp. did not say why Perkins or Cowley, both longtime directors, were exiting after the company's annual meeting in October. 

News Corp. had planned to nominate Murdoch's 43-year-old daughter, Elisabeth Murdoch, to the board. However, in August she delayed her nomination in the wake of the company's various controversies, including shareholder lawsuits filed after News Corp. paid $675 million to buy her London-based TV production company Shine Group. Of that amount, Elisabeth Murdoch received $214 million.

In a departure, News Corp. said it would hold its annual meeting with shareholders Oct. 21 at the Fox lot in Los Angeles.  News Corp. typically holds its annual meeting in October near the company's headquarters in New York.

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Elisabeth Murdoch makes $214 million on Shine sale

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-- Meg James

Photo: Rupert Murdoch. Credit:  Ben Gurr / Reuters

Elisabeth Murdoch makes $214 million on Shine sale

Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth Murdoch collected $214 million from the sale of her British TV production company, Shine Group, to her father's media company earlier this year.

In April, News Corp. paid $675 million to buy Elisabeth Murdoch's 10-year-old company Shine, which produces such TV programs as "The Biggest Loser" and "MasterChef." Of that amount, approximately $480 million was earmarked for Shine's equity partners, News Corp. said in its annual report filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

ElisabethMurdoch Until now, it was unclear exactly how much Elisabeth Murdoch made on the sale. 

Elisabeth Murdoch was the majority shareholder, owning 53% of Shine, a company that she steadily built by acquiring small TV production companies in various countries. In 2008 she bought U.S.-based Reveille, which produces "The Office" for NBC.

Sony Pictures Entertainment owned a 20% interest in Shine.

News Corp. said $135 million of the purchase price went to retire Shine's debt and pay other liabilities. Another $60 million, part of the $480 million attributed to equity, has been set aside in escrow to "satisfy any indemnification obligations," the company said. Elisabeth Murdoch, the document said, "is entitled to her proportionate share of amounts that are released from escrow," meaning she will likely receive more than the initial $214-million payment.

The purchase of Shine by News Corp. quickly became controversial, triggering shareholder lawsuits. In one, a New York bank representing several investment funds alleged that Rupert Murdoch operates News Corp. as a "family candy store" to pursue pet projects and reward his children and other family members. That suit, filed in a Delaware court, contends that Shine was worth far less than the $675 million that News Corp. paid.

When News Corp. announced in March that it was buying Shine, Rupert Murdoch said that Elisabeth Murdoch, 42, would be joining him and her two brothers -- Lachlan and James -- on the News Corp. board.

However, earlier this month, following the filing of the shareholder lawsuits and a phone-hacking scandal that has roiled the company and the British political establishment, News Corp. said that Elisabeth Murdoch had decided to delay her appointment to the board. 

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-- Meg James

Photo of Elisabeth Murdoch. Credit: Tim Matthews / Allstar

Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine International moves headquarters to London from L.A.

Elisabeth Murdoch's rapidly growing international sales and distribution arm for her TV production company Shine is buttoning up its headquarters in Los Angeles and moving to London.

ElisabethMurdochShine International, which sells such successful television formats as "MasterChef" and "The Biggest Loser," will keep a small presence in L.A., the company said in a statement Tuesday.

However, the division's president, Chris Grant, has decided not to relocate to Britain. He will stay on with Shine for six months to help with the transition.

Grant's exit comes in the wake of the resignation of Howard T. Owens, the longtime managing director of Shine's U.S. television company Reveille. Owens' employment contract ends in June. He is being replaced by Eden Gaha, executive producer of "Celebrity Apprentice."

Owens' and Grant's departures are significant because they represent the completion of the management change-over from the Ben Silverman era of Reveille to one that better reflects the tastes and discipline of Murdoch, the daughter of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

Silverman, the former NBC programmer, sold Reveille -- which had been something of a seat-of-the-pants operation with big credits including the U.S. remake of "The Office" -- to Murdoch in 2008 for about $125 million. Silverman relied heavily on four executives, including Owens and Grant, to run the operation, and Silverman's underlings stayed on with Reveille after Murdoch acquired the production company.

“At this stage of the company’s growth, Shine International needs its headquarters alongside our teams that manage and exploit group formats, brands and digital rights, with local sales experts in our global production centers," Shine Group President Alex Mahon said in a statement. She will assume overall responsibility for Shine International in the interim.

The restructuring does not affect former Fox Studios chief Emiliano Calemzuk, who continues as chief executive of Shine Group Americas, in charge of operations in the U.S., Canada and South America. 

Executive Vice President John Pollak will continue as sales head through the end of the year. Martin Rakusen, senior vice president for business and operations, plans to relocate to the London office.  BenandSteve

“I am incredibly proud of the substantial growth that Shine International has achieved since we started the company, and particularly in the last few years since joining the Shine Group," Grant said in the statement. "L.A. is my home and rather than relocate, it is also a good time for me to allow my colleagues to build on the success we have, together, created.”

In addition to the London headquarters, Shine International will have offices in France, Germany, Australia and the Nordic region.

-- Meg James

Top left photo:  Elisabeth Murdoch. Credit:  Tim Matthews / Allstar 

Bottom right photo:  Ben Silverman with Steve Carell of "The Office." Credit:  Chris Carlson / Associated Press

News Corp. completes acquisition of Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Group [updated]

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Tuesday it had completed its $674 million purchase of Shine Group, the London-based TV production company owned by the mogul's daughter, Elisabeth Murdoch. 

The transaction accomplishes Murdoch's goal of returning his daughter, Elisabeth Murdoch, to the corporate fold a week after her brother James Murdoch was elevated to deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. James Murdoch is expected to move to New York this summer to begin learning the U.S. operations of the sprawling media empire. Elisabeth Murdoch

Elisabeth Murdoch, 42, plans to remain in London. She will continue to oversee Shine, which has grown into a leading producer of reality shows that include "MasterChef," "The Biggest Loser" and "One Born Every Minute." 

The Shine purchase, announced in February, prompted a lawsuit by a New York state bank representing shareholders. The bank contends the $674 million purchase price was exceedingly high, and that News Corp. shareholders were overpaying to enrich a Murdoch family member. 

"Murdoch historically has operated News Corp. as his own private fiefdom with little or no effective oversight from the board," Amalgamated Bank's complaint said.

In its announcement Tuesday, News Corp. said the stock transaction had been approved by its audit committee, which is "composed entirely of independent directors." The committee, News Corp. said, "received advice and a fairness opinion" from an outside investment bank, Centerview Partners, and legal advice from the Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz law firm.

News Corp. said the various Shine shareholders -- including Elisabeth Murdoch -- received a total of about $472 million in "aggregate proceeds."  That was the "take away" amount left after retiring Shine's debt and paying other liabilities, a company official said.

Elisabeth Murdoch owned 53% of Shine. Sony Pictures Entertainment owned 20% and British Sky Broadcasting, which News Corp. is in the process of buying, owned 13%.  A smattering of other minority shareholders held the rest.

Updated 10:08 a.m.: Elisabeth Murdoch is expected to receive a seat on the News Corp. board, where she would join her two brothers, Lachlan and James, who are already directors. Including Rupert Murdoch, that would bring to four the number of Murdochs on the board of News Corp.

[An earlier version of this post said Elisabeth Murdoch had received a seat on the board. She has not yet been elected but has been serving as a board observer.] 

-- Meg James and Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo of Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Credit:  Matthews  Allstar

 

Shareholders sue Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. over Shine acquisition

News Corp. shareholders have sued Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and the company over plans to acquire a London-based television production company owned by the senior executive's daughter.

In the suit filed Wednesday in a Delaware court, the Amalgamated Bank of New York and the Central Laborers Pension Fund alleged that News Corp.'s agreement to buy Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Group for about $675 million was an act of "nepotism," according to a report by Bloomberg News.

Elisabeth Murdoch stands to receive $320 million in return for her 53% stake in Shine, along with a seat on News Corp.’s board, the complaint notes.

"Although the transaction makes little or no sense for News Corp., and is far above a price any independent, disinterested party would pay for Shine, it is unsurprising that the transaction was approved by News Corp.'s board," lawyers for the bank said in the filing.

News Corp. spokeswoman Julie Henderson called the suit "meritless."

When the conglomerate announced the deal last month, News Corp. noted the transaction would be subject to approval by the audit committee and the company's full board and receipt of an independent fairness opinion.

The transaction is expected to close March 31.

Founded by Elisabeth Murdoch in 2001, Shine has become one of Britain's largest independent production companies as a leading producer of such reality shows as "The Biggest Loser," "MasterChef" and "One Born Every Minute."

The pending acquisition would place a fourth Murdoch into a senior management role at the global media giant, and further consolidate the Murdoch family's control over News Corp. Elisabeth would join her brothers Lachlan and James on the board. The Murdoch family trust owns about 38% of News Corp.

Amalgamated's suit accused the senior Murdoch of treating News Corp. "like a wholly owned family candy store."

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

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