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Fabmart in talk with Rupert Murdoch, may divest stake

E-commerce portal Fabmart plans to divest a minority stake and is in talks with media moghul Rupert Murdoch to this end

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
BANGALORE
E-commerce portal Fabmart plans to divest a minority stake and is in talks with media moghul Rupert Murdoch to this end. It hopes to power its way into the overseas markets with the help of ``strategic inputs'' provided by Star TV. It may be recalled, Murdoch's News Corporation is aggressively looking at possible investment opportunities in the Indian IT sector through Star TV, following the media baron's high-profile visit to Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi.
V.S. Sudhakar, managing director, Fabmart, has confirmed the ongoing talks with Murdoch's Star TV. He, however, added that the two are at a very early stage of discussions and that these talks are not aimed at attracting cash inflows as Fabmart is comfortably placed in this regard.
The portal has only recently raised Rs 25 crore in its second round of venture capital funding from Chrysalis. He reiterated that there was ``absolutely no intention on the part of Fabmart's six original promoters to sell controlling stake to anyone.''
Sudhakar said that Fabmart is mainly looking at some assistance to gain entry into overseas markets. The e-commerce engine, which went online on September 29, 1999, with virtual stores for books and music, will unveil a jewellery store on June 20 and is expected to take its service to markets outside India. The e-commerce portal, with 850 service locations spread across the country, is also planning to launch a grocery portal in the immediate future.
Sudhakar also stated that Fabmart has "an association with Reliance'', and denied earlier media reports that Reliance Industries had picked up a controlling stake in the venture. He however, refused to talk about the exact nature of this association owing to a confidentiality clause.
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