After a few months of negotiations, UK-based TV show producer Reveille has been sold to independent production company Shine for $125 million, NYT reported.
The final acquisition price could rise to $200 million, as was expected last November when the deal was said to be in the final stages. Reveille, the maker of such TV hits as Ugly Betty, The Office and The Tudors among others, was owned by Ben Silverman, currently co-chairman of NBC Entertainment. UK-based Shine is controlled by Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of Rupert Murdoch. She founded the company in 2001, a year after leaving News Corp (NYSE: NWS). In the past year, Shine has snapped up a number of UK indie shops.
Silverman, who was tapped as NBC’s top programmer last May, found himself fending off charges of a conflict of interest after the network bought a slate of Reveille productions, including the unscripted series American Gladiators and the comedy Kath and Kim. Silverman rejected the charges, saying NBCU president and CEO Jeff Zucker had final approval and that the process for acquiring those shows was transparent. Although Silverman may have hoped that selling Reveille to Shine would dispel the accusations of a conflict, the charges aren’t likely to die down: though he gave up any financial stake in the sale of Reveille shows to NBC, it’s been argued that the value of the production company gained as a result. And so, indirectly, since Silverman is Reveille’s sole owner, the proceeds of the acquisition go mostly in his pocket.