News Corp owned STAR TV is forming a joint venture with Rajeev Chandrasekhars Jupiter Entertainment Ventures – STAR Jupiter Entertainment Television. STAR Jupiter will be a majority shareholder in Asiannet communications, reports News Corp owned Dow Jones Newswire. STAR will hold at least 51 percent in the venture, and STAR CEO Uday Shankar has told Indiantelevision.com that the news business will not be a part of the portfolio, since only 26% FDI is allowed in the News business. Murdoch wants to enter the news business – but is now interested only in businesses where News Corp will be a majority stakeholder. Asianet has been restructured into four companies – general entertainment, news, radio and media infrastructure, and it appears that STAR Jupiter will be involved only with the General Entertainment business to begin with.
The STAR-Jupiter deal had been reported by the Economic Times in August, around the time when Rupert Murdoch had visited India. One sensed that the deal had been done, when it was reported a few days ago that Asianet was looking to buy an English news channel, and a vernacular paper. During his visit to India, Murdoch had expressed an interest in the regional television space in India, saying that STAR will invest $100 million, and set up 6 channels.