Star News FDI cap at 26%: DSP Merrill Lynch may be mandated to manage restructuring

NEW DELHI: Three months is what Star India has been given to get the foreign direct investment (FDI) component in its news broadcast operations down to 26 per cent, and it is determined to get it done.

It is learnt from Star sources that this time round, after having got a 90-day breather, the company would look at completing the formalities much before the deadline that ends mid-June.

In line with this strategy, banking industry sources point out that a merchant banker, in all probability DSP Merrill Lynch, is likely to be mandated to help Star facilitate the restructuring process relating to its news channels. The Indian government policy guideline caps foreign equity to 26 per cent in news channels not uplinking to a broadcasting satellite from India (unlike Zee News), but desirous of uplinking news feeds through various modes available (like rooftop transmission system and video phone) on a daily basis for beaming back final products and programmes for audiences primarily in India.

"The effort would be to complete the formalities much within the deadline and not approach the government for various permissions towards the end of the 90-day grace period that has been made available by a government that has acted in a justifiable manner," a source close to Star's thinking process on the news channel explained.

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