Television

Chandrasekhar acquires Asianet; network to expand into Kannada, Tamil

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MUMBAI: Former BPL head honcho Rajiv Chandrasekhar has acquired a 51 per cent stake in Asianet Communications to become the chairman of the leading Malayalam television channel.

Chandrasekhar's acquisition, made through group company Jupiter Entertainment Ventures (JEV), is part of its expansion plans, which include new satellite channels in Tamil and Kannada, a press release issued in Thiruvananthapuram states.

JEV also has plans to launch FM radio stations (under the Indigo brand name), the release says.
The Kannada channel is expected to be launched early next year, and work is on in full force, the release adds.

Once the statutory approvals are through, the remaining stake will be held between Raji Menon, the original promoter of the network, and Asianet managing director K Madhavan, with Zee Group holding a small 3% holding.

Though Menon will no more have any direct operational role in the network, he will reportedly retain a 26 per cent stake in the network. Madhavan will, however, continue as MD overseeing the current management team.

Asianet Communications operates three channels — Asianet, Asianet News and Asianet Plus for youth.

Chandrasekhar, who unlocked over Rs 12 billion by selling the telecom business he had built up to Hutchison Essar, has more than adequate cash reserves to make current southern media kingpin Kalanidhi Maran sit up and take note.

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