Murdoch mayhem hits India

News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch seems to have made a lot out of his Mumbai visit. The media baron held a series of meetings in Mumbai. He touched base with his old friends, colleagues, to-be business partners, ex-partners, and important local political heavyweights.

On Tuesday morning, he had a meeting with Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, wherein he reiterated his commitment to further his investments in Maharashtra, and also voiced his interest in taking part in the information technology revolution that the new NCP government is trying to bring into the state. The meeting was followed by an impromptu press conference.

The previous day he had meetings with petrochemical and telecom baron Dhirubhai Ambani, his old partner turned rival Subhash Chandra, and the Baramati badshah and leader of the National Congress Party Sharad Pawar, apart from the Star TV staff.

Reportedly, the meeting with Subhash Chandra was a courtesy call and no business was discussed. A large part of his day was spent at the Star TV office in Andheri. He is also seriously considering Sam Pitroda's WorldTel venture of spreading cyber cafes all over the country at par with the STD booths.

He is expected to meet Ratan Tata who recently announced his Infotech plans. Discussions could cover a Joint venture whereby Murdoch would provide content for Tata's IT network. Murdoch's agenda also includes meetings with Ashok Hinduja, Remi Hinduja and his old friend Nusli Wadia. The Hinduja-run cable network IN CableNet could do business with News Corp as IN Cablenet needs content and News Corp needs distribution. This can tackle the threat from the Zee group which owns SitiCable and which also has the content power.

The media giant, earlier, was pretty impressed with Bangalore city. He had held preliminary talks with some portals and he is expected to fund a couple of ventures. One on the list includes a portal by the Pradip Kar owned Microland Group and the other is a Bangalore-centric portal Murdoch also announced that Bangalore might be the second city to have a production studio apart from Mumbai.

Murdoch will fly to Delhi from Mumbai and is slated to meet the Prime Minister, the Infotech Minister Pramod Mahajan apart from attending the "Janata Ki Adalat" bash in the capital.

The shrewd businessman has made sure to make the most out of his India trip and he is expected to make big announcements within a few

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