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News Corp acquires complete stake in ESS

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | November 09, 2012
The 50:50 joint venture, ESPN-STAR Sports, was signed 16 years ago between Walt Disney's ESPN Inc and News Corporation.

News Corporation has acquired Disney's share of the joint venture, ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS). ESS is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of News Corporation.

News Corp

ESPN-STAR Sports

It may be recalled that afaqs! had reported in June about the plans of the two broadcasting companies about News Corp buying out ESPN Inc's 50 per cent equity interest in ESS. The 50:50 joint venture, ESPN-STAR Sports, was signed 16 years ago between Walt Disney's ESPN Inc and News Corporation.

As a part of the development, News Corporation and ESPN had further announced that Peter Hutton, then senior vice-president of sports for FOX International Channels (FIC), would take over as managing director of ESS, a position then held by Manu Sawhney.

With this development, the News Corporation unit now owns and operates all of the ESS businesses and also provides ESPN more independence and flexibility in future support of The Walt Disney Company's overall efforts in Asia.

Also, this move enables STAR India to add six sports channels to its portfolio, namely, ESPN, Star Sports, Star Cricket, ESPN HD, Star Cricket HD and ESPN News.

According to the arrangement, STAR India and News Corp will use ESS's current brands within guidelines agreed by both partners. The ESPN brand will eventually be phased out as per agreed terms.

The official communication from STAR also states that both, STAR India and ESPN have also entered into a non-compete agreement typical for a transaction of this nature.

The venture is based in Singapore. It operates 25 ESPN and STAR Sports-branded television networks, and three broadband sports networks throughout Asia in five languages (English, Cantonese, Hindi, Korean and Mandarin).

The official communication sent by the two networks says, "News Corporation and ESPN today announced that News Corporation, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, completed its acquisition of ESPN's partnership interest in ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS) pursuant to their agreement."

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