Star Group launches Star Ventures to manage JVs

MUMBAI: In a significant development, the Star Group today announced the formation of a new division called Star Ventures to manage and maximise the value of the company's increasing portfolio of joint ventures.

Based in Hong Kong, Star Ventures will be headed by the group's senior vice-president May Oh.

Star Ventures will oversee Star's joint venture partnerships. Star's key partnerships include ESPN Star Sports, Phoenix Satellite Television, Star News, Balaji Telefilms, Hathway Cable, China Network Systems and India DTH (Space TV).

ESPN Star Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between ESPN Inc. and Star, with 13 sports channels across Asia. On the other hand, Star owns a 37.6 per cent stake in Phoenix, a Hong Kong-listed Mandarin television platform, offering five channels to the global Chinese community.

In India, Star owns 26 per cent of Media Content and Communications Services (MCCS), which broadcasts Star News. Apart from that the media conglomerate also owns a 26 per cent stake in Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms, which produces fiction based television shows in Hindi, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada.

Star has formed a 20:80 joint venture with the Tata Group to build the direct-to-home (DTH) digital television platform - Space TV, which is still waiting for clearance from the Indian information and broadcasting ministry. Star also owns a 26 per cent equity stake in India's second largest multi-system operator (MSO) Hathway Cable.

In China, Star owns a 20 per cent equity stake in China Network Systems (Taiwan's leading cable TV service provider), which is a joint venture between Star and the Koo's Group.

Commenting on the new division, Star CEO Michelle Guthrie said, "In the past few years, Star's network of partnerships has grown as we have expanded our business in Asia. These partnerships have contributed significantly to our overall development and I have no doubt Star Ventures will unlock more value to the mutual benefit of Star and our partners."

Oh said, "Star's strategic partnerships have enabled us to break new ground, increasing our reach and enhancing our content to consumers. I look forward to working even more closely with our partners to execute our joint vision and aligning our interests."

Oh has been with Star for the last five years. Most recently, she was vice president of distribution, responsible for managing the distribution and marketing of Star's channels in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

Prior to that, she worked with China Network Systems where she oversaw the digitisation of the company's cable systems in Taiwan. Prior to joining Star, Oh worked with FOXTEL, managing its business development and business analysis teams in Australia.

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