Murdoch’s Daughter Elisabeth Gives Tate at Least $1.6 Mln

Elisabeth and Rupert Murdoch
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, right, with his daughter Elisabeth Murdoch. Photographer: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, has given Tate at least 1 million pounds ($1.6 million), the U.K. museum group said.

Elisabeth Murdoch -- founder of the TV production company Shine Group Ltd. -- is a Tate board member whose four-year term expires in August. Her gift will help fund educational facilities at Tate Modern’s planned 215 million pound new wing, Tate said in an e-mailed statement.

“We can confirm that Elisabeth Murdoch, who is a trustee of Tate, has made a major donation to the new development of Tate Modern,” Tate said. “Her donation is supporting key studios and spaces for learning and engagement in the new building.”

Tate said the donation was “a seven-figure sum,” and would not elaborate.

Patrick Keegan, Shine Group’s director of communications and a spokesman for Elisabeth Murdoch, declined to comment on what he said was a private donation.

A year ago, News Corp. completed the purchase of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group -- producer of the popular U.K. shows “MasterChef” and “Merlin” -- for 415 million pounds. According to an August 2011 securities filing, News Corp. paid about $214 million in cash to Elisabeth Murdoch as part of the acquisition.

Funding Shortage

The 2012 opening of the new Tate 2 building, designed by architects Herzog & De Meuron, was postponed because of a funding shortage. It’s now set to open in 2016 at the latest. Three-quarters of the cost -- or about 161 million pounds -- has been raised so far, Tate said, up from 150 million pounds in October, when Tate last gave numbers.

Of the money raised, 50 million pounds is coming from the U.K. government; 7 million pounds from the London Development Agency; 5 million pounds from philanthropist John Studzinski, senior managing director of Blackstone Group LP; and “a few million” pounds from the Sultanate of Oman, according to Tate.

“We can’t possibly be in a position where we start commissioning building without being certain that we have it in our funds to complete it,” Tate Director Nicholas Serota said in October, when asked about the new wing.

“The trustees have said they want to get to a certain level of funding which they set for themselves,” Serota said. “At that point, they will steam ahead.”

To coincide with the 2012 London Olympic Games, Tate Modern -- a former power station -- is opening two huge circular spaces that were once oil tanks. The opening date and program for the tanks is being announced April 23.

The donation was first reported by the Evening Standard newspaper, which didn’t say where it got the information.

Today’s Muse highlights include: Farah Nayeri’s London Weekend; Lewis Lapham on history.

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