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Star India to acquire MAA TV’s broadcast biz for Rs 2500 crore

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Rupert Murdoch-run Star India has received an approval from the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) to acquire Telugu TV channel network MAA TV’s broadcast business for Rs 2500 crore. The company had previously bid to acquire this broadcast business in February, and has now received an official nod. The acquisition will give Star it’s first Telugu channel, opening up access to the Telugu television market.

Post acquisition, Star will retain the MAA TV brand, as well as its nearly 500 employees. However, the company MAA TV will continue to be retained by its original promoters, as Star’s acquisition only covers the broadcast business. According to Star, the acquisition will help it ‘fill a gap in its portfolio’, as well as allow its advertisers to target the Telugu television market.

Screen acquisition: In March, Star India had acquired entertainment magazine Screen from the Indian Express group. As a part of deal, Star would get exclusive ownership of the 64-year-old Screen brand franchise including all archival material and transfer of key employees. The publication added that it would end the print edition of the magazine and would move online. While the size of the deal was undisclosed, it was pegged to be around Rs 30-40 crore.

Asianet acquisition: Earlier in March 2014, Star India bought the remaining 13% stake in Asianet Communications Ltd to complete the Asianet acquisition. Star India had increased its stake in Asianet Communications to 87%, by acquiring 12% stake for $160 million in June 2013. This was by virtue of acquiring a 19% stake in Vijay TV after the government had cleared Vijay TV’s Rs 962 crore FDI request for acquiring existing domestic shareholding in the non-news channel.

Home shopping venture exit: In June last year, Star India exited from its home shopping joint venture Star CJ Network India, by selling its 50% stake to the private equity firm Providence Equity Partners for an undisclosed amount. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Star CJ had said that it would continue using the Star CJ brand for 12 months, following which it would be rebrand the company.

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