MUMBAI: Star India’s equity interest in Asianet Communications in June 2013 increased by 12 per cent to 87 per cent from the earlier 75 percent. The price the India subsidiary of 21st Century Fox paid for the additional interest in the south Indian general entertainment television network was approximately $160 million.
The price paid by Star India for the additional interest values Asianet Communications at $1.33 billion.
According to 21st Century Fox, in June 2013, it acquired the 19 per cent stake in Vijay Television that it didn’t own and, as a result, it now owns 87 per cent interest in Asianet Communications.
Star India holds its interest in Asianet Communications through Vijay Television. The 19 per cent equity stake in Vijay Television that it bought in June 2013 was held by Rajeev Chandrasekhar and K Madhavan.
In January 2009, Star India and Asianet TV Holdings formed a venture Star Jupiter and the Asianet Communication’s general entertainment channels were brought under the joint venture. Star India’s Tamil channel, Star Vijay was also consolidated with the Asianet channels but the shareholding structure of Asianet Communications is not clearly known as it is a closely held company.
In 2009, Star India paid approximately $235 million in cash and assumed net debt of approximately $20 million for a controlling interest in the four channels owned by Asianet. The price Star India paid for the 51 per cent stake in 2009 meant Asianet Communications was then valued at $500 million.
Asianet Communications broadcasts Malayalam language channels Asianet and Asianet Plus, Kannada language channel Suvarna and Telugu channel Sitara.
In July 2010, Star India increased its stake in Asianet communications to 75 per cent from 51 per cent, for which it paid approximately $90 million in cash.
Asianet Communications was founded in 1991 by Reju Menon and Shashi Kumar. Rajeev Chandrasekhar acquired a 51 per cent stake in the company in 2006 for a reported price of Rs 150 crore (about $25 million at the current exchange rate) and also became its chairman.