Mumbai, Sept. 19: ABP Pvt Ltd, publisher of The Telegraph, is picking up a 74 per cent shareholding in the company that controls STAR News, India’s first 24-hour news channel.
ABP and the STAR group signed an agreement here today to form a joint venture in Media Content and Communications Services India to run STAR News, which broadcasts round the clock in Hindi.
STAR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of News Corporation, will hold the rest of the equity — 26 per cent — in the company whose share capital is being expanded.
Under government guidelines, a foreign investor cannot hold more than 26 per cent in a news channel for it to be able to uplink from India, a facility that is essential to operate such a service. STAR News will now make a fresh application to the government seeking uplinking from India.
Aniruddha Lahiri, managing director of ABP, said: “This alliance is in line with the ABP group’s strategy to get into the fastest-growing media space from our traditional area of expertise, which is print media.
“Our partnership with the STAR group will enable us to gain in terms of scope, scale and influence. In turn, ABP’s 80 years of history and expertise in content making will add value to STAR News.”
Following the partnership, Media Content and Communications’ board of directors will be reconstituted.
Ravina Raj Kohli will be the president of STAR News and Sanjay Pugalia continues as news director.
Peter Mukerjea, CEO of STAR India, said: “In ABP, we found a strong media partner that shares our vision for STAR News — providing Indian viewers news that is unbiased and relevant to our country.
“We have great faith and confidence that a partnership such as this of two leading companies will be a stepping stone to a very positive future for our viewers, advertisers, cable operators and all stake-holders.”