Saas-Bahu is going ahead without Star. Balaji Telefilms, promoted by Jeetendra and Ekta Kapoor said on Tuesday that it will end its four-year old TV and film production partnership with media baron Rupert Murdoch’s Star group which holds 25.99 per cent stake in the production house.
Balaji's promoters are entitled to acquire Star Group's 25.99 percent stake in Balaji at an average price of Rs 190 each within 240 days, failing which Star would be free to sell it to any others except a competitor, Balaji said in a statement. Star is holding shares in Balaji Telefilms through its associate company---Asian Broadcasting FZ-LLC (ABF). ABF's holding is worth Rs 322.01 crore at the agreed price of Rs 190 per share, a premium of 9.8 per cent over Balaji's current stock price on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Star is understood to have offered its stake to a clutch of private equity players, according to sources close to the Star group.
Star has parted ways with Balaji Telefilms to independently pursue opportunities in the growing film production business, according to sources close to Star group. Under the new plan, it is planning to tie-up with Twentieth Century Fox, the US-based film production house for producing Hindi movies.
Another joint venture agreement for channels in regional languages signed in April 2007 would also stand terminated. Star TV would now look at starting other regional channels either on its own or through tie-ups with other production houses, said a Star TV India source. Currently, the only regional channel owned by Star broadcasts in Tamil. Rupert Murdoch had said in India recently that his New York-headquartered media conglomerate News Corp would invest $100 million on launching six new regional television channels under the Star brand. Three of these channels would be in Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati languages. The media conglomerate also plans to expand its presence in India in movies, digital and mobile space and focus on greater collaboration between Dow Jones Newswires and STAR network.