Rupert-Murdoch led media conglomerate News Corporation (NewsCorp) on Wednesday announced that it will buy out partner Walt Disney’s 50% stake in the Asian sports broadcasting joint venture ESPN-StarSports (ESS), ending a 16-year partnership.
While NewsCorp did not reveal the deal size it said the transaction will help the $61 billion company to own and operate all of the ESS businesses while providing ESPN more independence and flexibility in future support of The Walt Disney Company’s efforts in Asia. ESPN is a business vertical of Walt Disney."The acquisition continues the programme of simplifying our operating model, consolidating our affiliate ownership structures and furthers our commitment to delivering sports programming to consumers across the globe, particularly enhancing our position in sports programming in emerging markets," said James Murdoch, chairman and CEO (international), NewsCorp.
NewsCorp and the ESPN have also announced that Manu Sawhney, managing director of ESS, will leave the organisation paving the way for Peter Hutton to take over his responsibilities. Hutton is currently senior vice president of sports for Fox International Channels, owned by NewsCorp.
“Sawhney will be staying with the company until August 31 to work with Hutton on a smooth transition,” the statement said.
Commenting on his exit, Sawhney said: “...As the organisation begins a new chapter under new ownership, I have decided to move on after the transition and I am looking forward to the next exciting phase of my career.” Sawhney has been with ESS since 16 years, when the joint venture was formed.
ESS has a portfolio of multimedia assets including television networks, broadband network, digital content services, and on-ground Event Management Group.