Sahara in talks to acquire TV Asia

MUMBAI: The Sahara Group is in talks with Asia Star Broadcasting Inc. to acquire TV Asia, an entertainment and information channel for South Asian audiences in the United States.

TV Asia founder HR Shah met Sahara officials, including founder-promoter Subrato Roy and son Sushanto Roy, in Lucknow a week ago in this regard. "We are in discussions. Shah was here. We are likely to do a due diligence on TV Asia," Sushanto Roy, who heads Sahara's media and entertainment business, told

Acquisition of a controlling stake or a total buyout are two of the options being considered. Sahara will conduct a valuation exercise only after a formal offer from Shah is received however.

"Shah is expected to make a formal offer soon. We will then give the mandate for due diligence," says Sahara India Entertainment Management chief operating officer Peter Isaac. Sahara India Entertainment is a 50:50 management joint venture with Percept Finserve to manage all Sahara's media and entertainment businesses. Sahara recently brought all its media and entertainment businesses - television, motion pictures, radio and special identity - under a single entity called SaharaOne.

Sahara is planning to launch its channel overseas, including in the US and UK markets. "We could use TV Asia to enter the US market. But we haven't finalised our plans yet. We could also enter the overseas markets on our own," says Roy.

TV Asia, which started in April 1993, airs programming in Hindi, English, Gujarati and other regional languages. The content ranges from news to educational programmes, dramas, music and movies.

News is in Hindi, English and Gujarati. The channel airs not only Hindi movies but also in regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi. Asia Star Broadcasting is backed by an international consortium of media professionals and businessmen.

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