Star gets FIPB approval for new channels, share transfer

MUMBAI: The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has approved a proposal by Star Group to invest in the country to start and create new non-news channels, which in all probability, would be niche channels for the direct-to-home (DTH) platform.

FIPB has also approved share transfer from Indian shareholders to others in companies through which Star proposes to undertake other initiatives.

“The commercial feasibility of creating channels in India has been matched by the liberalisation in foreign investment norms relating to the sector, which now makes it possible for a foreign investor to invest wholly in an Indian company to undertake activities of owning and uplinking a TV channel in India,” the Star application with the FIPB had stated.

However, FIPB’s approval will have to be ratified by the finance ministry before Star can go ahead with its proposed activities.

In its application to FIPB, Star had said that for its newer activities, it proposes to use three companies in India, which have already been incorporated. The need for separate companies was driven by the fact that the nature of content in the (proposed) channels is distinct and this necessitates different skill sets and facilities, which can be more “efficiently housed in different entities.”

The three companies sought to be used by Star are Touch Tele Content India Pvt Ltd (TTCL), PPV Movies & Content Pvt Ltd (PMCPL) and Star Games Development Company Pvt Ltd (SGDPL). Star’s holding in the last two companies would be held by a Mauritius based group company, Star ISP Ltd.

In addition to the investment into fresh equity of PMCPL and SGDPL, Star ISP Ltd will also purchase the existing shares from the current shareholders of the investee company, which were in the process of seeking clearance from the information and broadcasting ministry for uplinking channels from India.

Touch Tele is presently engaged in providing support services to other media companies. PPV Movies and Star Games Development were recently incorporated as companies.

The Star application also stated that amongst the many benefits accruing from this proposal will be investments made in India to create “world class infrastructure related to channel creation that is, on-air promotion, playout (facilities), delivery, etc.”

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