Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch, received $214m from his group’s purchase of Shine, her television company.
Though it was known that Ms Murdoch had benefited handsomely from the sale, the exact figure was not revealed until News Corp filed its 10-K annual report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.
News Corp bought Shine, which produces shows including The Tudors and MasterChef, for $673m in February. At the time, it was announced that Ms Murdoch, 42, would join the News Corp board.
But the acquisition quickly became a target of disgruntled shareholders, who claimed the high price was an ineffective use of News Corp’s capital. In March, two small investment firms issued a writ in a Delaware court claiming that the deal was “nepotistic” and showed Mr Murdoch using the company as a “family candy store”.
That suit is still pending, according to News Corp’s annual report, and in July was amended by the plaintiffs to include new accusations that the News Corp board had “failed in their duty of oversight” regarding the phone-hacking scandal in the UK.
This month, it was announced that Ms Murdoch would delay joining the News Corp board, a setback to Mr Murdoch’s plan for his children to succeed him at the helm of the company.
Mr Murdoch’s son, James, who is deputy chief operating officer and the presumptive chief executive-in-waiting, has been caught in the middle of the phone-hacking scandal, and is expected to be recalled by the UK parliamentary select committee to clarify parts of the testimony he gave last month.
There was added pressure on James on Tuesday, as new evidence showing that phone hacking was “widely discussed” at editorial meetings of the News of the World, the UK tabloid, calling into question some of his testimony.
However, at last week’s quarterly conference call with analysts and reporters, Mr Murdoch maintained that there were no plans for further leadership changes at News Corp, and that James still had the full confidence of management.
However, in its annual report, the group made its most explicit acknowledgement to date of the phone-hacking scandal’s potential impact on its operations, and the investigations by US and UK regulators.
“We are not able to predict the ultimate outcome or cost of the investigations,” the company said. “Violations of law may result in civil, administrative or criminal fines or penalties. It is also possible that these proceedings could damage our reputation and might impair our ability to conduct our business.”
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