Balaji to explore other strategic partners after Star’s exit

MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms has parted ways with Rupert Murdoch’s Star Group and will now be exploring strategic initiatives in various other segments of the India media and entertainment industry.

Star held 25.99 per cent stake in Balaji Telefilms via Asian Broadcasting FZ LLC. The two companies were also slated to launch regional language channels via a joint venture that was inked in April 2007. This JV has also been terminated.

Following this, Balaji Telefilms promoters namely Jeetendra Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor and Tusshar Kapoor will be entitled to purchase the entire shareholding held by ABF in the company for an average price of Rs 190 per share, within, a period not exceeding 240 days.

If the purchase does not take place within the prescribed period, ABF is entitled to sell its shares in the company to any person other than a competitor of the company.

Additionally, the content supply agreements between Star and Balaji Telefilms for various shows produced by the latter will be modified to remove the restrictions imposed upon the company relating to exclusively on certain prime time slots.

The six existing shows produced by Balaji Telefilms, which are currently being aired on Star Plus, will continue on terms mutually agreed upon by the two parties.

Star and Baalaji Telefilms will also commence work on a new show that will be launched before 30 November, 2008. This show will replace an old Balaji show on Star Plus.

Star India CEO Uday Shankar said, "Star and Balaji Telefilms have agreed to determine all prior agreements such that each side is freed from all respective rights and obligations arising from such agreements. The relationship between Star and Balaji, as broadcaster and content provider will not be affected. The new arrangement allows both parties to take the best advantage of emerging opportunities in broadcasting and content creation."

Balaji Telefilms managing director Shobha Kapoor added, "Star and Balaji Telefilms have enjoyed a successful relationship over the past few years, one that has been to the mutual benefit of both. We are keen to continue this relationship in the best spirit going forward. this agreement with Star releases Balaji Telefilms form its various obligations and opens up very exciting opportunities for it. Balaji Telefilms, as the leader in the television content business, will be able to cater to the wider needs of the high-growth Indian broadcasting industry. Further, we are also exploring strategic initiatives in various other segments of the India media and entertainment industry."

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