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Uday Shankar & James Murdoch Join Hands For New Media Venture

The Quint
·2-min read

James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and former Star India CEO and president of Walt Disney Asia Pacific, Uday Shankar, have announced that they will be joining hands to form a new venture.

The venture, they said, would focus on "technology and media opportunities in emerging markets".

An Association That Goes Way Back

Murdoch and Shankar's association goes back a long time, to the late 2000s, when Shankar was overseeing News Corp Asia's business.

Murdoch was then CEO of 21st Century Fox.

Walt Disney had later acquired 21st Century Fox Inc in a $71 billion cash and stock deal in June 2018, which made Star India, Fox Star Studios, and Hotstar part of Walt Disney.

Murdoch is the CEO of Lupa Systems, a private holding company, launched after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

Murdoch told Financial Times that the new venture would be a “major priority" and a “centre of gravity" for Lupa.

"After two decades of working in India and the region, at Star and more recently at Lupa Systems, it's great to be entering into a renewed partnership with Uday. Our collaborations over the years have been immensely rewarding for consumers, our various shareholders, and our colleagues. I'm very pleased to be renewing that partnership now. As connectivity continues to accelerate and expand across south Asia and the whole region, new opportunities for innovation, across consumer sectors, will multiply", he said in a statement, reports Livemint.

“James and I enjoyed a great partnership at Star and I am enormously excited to be in partnership with him again. Digital technology promises to transform the lives of many millions of people in this part of the world and I have every confidence that we can harness technology, enterprise, and tremendous talent to create a great business that is also great for society', said Shankar.

What Will The New Venture Deal With?

According to Financial Times, the two are joining hands with the aim of building a “large-scale" business in areas of digital media, education and healthcare delivery, developed in part through acquisitions.

Industry sources also told Business Standard that digital media in India will be a big driver for the new venture.

Its name and its exact strategy is yet to be known.

In October 2019, Shankar had announced that he was stepping down from Walt Disney to pursue his own entrepreneurial interests. He had indicated at the time that he would be looking at digital media due to the growing success of Hotstar, Star group's OTT platform.

Murdoch, on the other hand, has invested in Indian firms in the last two years through Lupa System, investing especially in startups such as DailyHunt and Harappa Education.

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