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Monday, Jul 10, 2006

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Star's subsidiary plan hits roadblock

Ambarish Mukherjee

Home Ministry seeks more time for detailed examination

The barrier
The I&B Ministry has already cleared the proposal
FIPB has deferred decision on MHA's request
FIPB to take up the proposal after it receives MHA's comments

New Delhi , July 9

Star television group's plan to have three new 100 per cent subsidiary companies, each with separate rights to undertake the business of "creating, owning and distributing" non-news and current affairs channels, has hit a roadblock.

Despite a clearance from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), the proposal has been blocked by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA has informed the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) that it needs more time for "detailed examination" of the proposals.

Following the MHA request, the FIPB has deferred any decision on the Star group's plan till the MHA gives its views, sources said. The Star group runs several channels in India through various subsidiaries. It also has several joint ventures in India. Star News Broadcasting Ltd currently holds 26 per cent in Media Content & Communication (India) Private Ltd. The group also holds 25 per cent in Balaji Telefilms Ltd through Asian Broadcasting LLC and 3.25 per cent in Broadcast Worldwide Ltd through group company Crombie International.

Star group company, ISP Ltd of Mauritius, had sought permission from the FIPB to acquire 99.99 per cent shares in two newly incorporated Indian companies, namely PPV Movies & Content Private Ltd and Star Games Development Company Private Ltd.

The third company Touch Tele Content (India) Private Ltd is almost 100 per cent held by British Virgin Island based Star News Broadcasting Ltd.


Currently Touch Tele is engaged in providing support services to other media companies. Permission has been sought to allow this company to undertake the business of creating, owning and distributing non-news non-current affairs channels. The same permission has been sought for the other two companies also. The board will again take up the proposal for consideration after it receives the MHA's comments, sources said.

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