Murdoch bets big on India: News Corp buys out VCCircle, Star India acquires Screen

New Delhi:Rupert Murdoch has returned to India with two buyouts in one go in the media space. While NewsCorp has has signed a definitive agreement to acquire media firm VCCircle Network, The Economic Times reported that 21st Century Fox has bought out film magazine Screen from the Indian Express group.

Though the financial details of the deals were not disclosed, the ET report said the Screen was valued at Rs 30-40 crore and VCCircle at about Rs 120-150 crore. NewsCorp takes care of the print businesses of the Murdoch empire while 21st Century Fox looks after the broadcast and entertainment business.

The report points out that the deals are in line with the group's strategy of "branching out of its traditional publishing businesses with investments in newer ventures especially in digital and consumer internet properties".

VCCirlce is the third investment by News Corp in India. Previously, it had invested in financial advisory start-up firm BigDecisions.com and realty portal PropTiger.com.

In a statement, News Corp said it has signed "a definitive agreement to acquire VCCircle Network, which includes VCCircle.com, Techcircle.in, VCCEdge, VCCircle Training, in addition to a premium-content driven conference business."

Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close by March, were not disclosed.

AP

AP

Commenting on the announcement, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson said: "India is an increasingly meaningful part of our portfolio, which is itself increasingly digital and global."

"This important investment is a sign of our faith in India's future and our enthusiasm for working with and building up emerging talents in the country," he added.

VCCircle Network is owned by Mosaic Media Ventures and has about 100 employees across India, with its headquarters in Noida.

VCCircle Network Founder and CEO P V Sahad and the management group will become part of News Corp's India team. Sahad will report to News Corp Senior Vice President (Strategy) Raju Narisetti, the statement said.

According to the ET report, Murdoch's Star India will get the exclusive ownership of the Screen franchise and also it archival material. It also said the magazine will cease publication next week it will be relaunched in a digital format in a few months.

In November 2014, News Corp had acquired 25 per cent stake in Indian realty portal PropTiger.com for $30 million (Rs 185 crore) as part of its strategy to expand presence in digital media.

It had picked up stake in Singapore-based Elara Technologies Pte Ltd, the parent firm of PropTiger.com. In the following month, News Corp announced acquisition of BigDecisions.com for an undisclosed sum. The portal was set up by Manish Shah and Gaurav Roy in early 2013.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Mar 10, 2015 12:32 PM

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