Television

News Corp won't part its stake in UTV

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which holds a 37 per cent stake in the Ronnie Screwvala promoted United Television (UTV) is negotiating with Screwvala to retain a stake in his company.

News Corp had a 49 per cent stake in UTV prior of selling a 12 per cent stake off to Warburg Pincus which already held 24 per cent of holding in the company. The deal reduced Murdoch's stake to 37 per cent and he last year, had announced to sell it off to Mr Screwvala. Now Murdoch is in talks with Screwvala to retain 15 per cent stake in UTV. UTV will be listing on Indian brouses by May-June this year.

After his increased interest in India, Murdoch seems not willing to give up his stake in the huge media house UTV. News Corp is already getting ready to capture a market share in India in the era of convergence by plans to acquire Internet companies, ISPs and telecom companies as well as creating portals. Already having a chunk of the television market through its subsidiaty Star TV, News Corp wants to get deep in the convergence market. Since content would be an important issue in the forthcoming world of broadband, Murdoch won't like to give up his whole stake in the company which is rich in content and which could add value to his holding.

Incidently, Murdoch would visit Mumbai this weekend where UTV is based. But the exact purpose of his visit is still unknown and this could be a part of his agenda.

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