The Competition Commission has approved global media conglomerate News Corp’s proposal to acquire fully ESPN Star Sports,saying the combination would not impact adversely competition in India.
Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp in June this year had announced the plan to buy out the remaining 50 per cent stake in ESPN Star Sports from ESPN.
“… also considering the presence of other sports channels in India such as DD Sports,TEN Action Plus,Ten Sports,Ten Cricket,Ten Golf,Sony Six,Neo Sports Plus,Neo Prime etc,the proposed combination is not likely to give rise to any adverse competition concern in India,” the Competition Commission (CCI) said.
In an order dated September 20,CCI said the proposed deal relates to the acquisition of the entire partnership interest of EGP Company in ESPN Star Sports by StarTV ATC Holding Ltd.
StarTV ATC and Yarraton Ltd are part of News Corp.
Yarraton,an indirect subsidiary of News Corp,and EGP — a group entity of Walt Disney Company — holds 50 per cent stake each in ESPN Star Sports.
“As a result of the proposed combination,the partnership interest of News Corp in ESPN Star Sports would increase from 50 per cent to 100 per cent and consequentially,News Corp would acquire sole control over ESPN Star Sports,” the order noted.
Further,the combination would lead to News Corp getting sole control over the subsidiaries of ESPN Star Sports — ESPN Software India Ltd and Scorpio Television India Pvt Ltd.
“Pursuant to the proposed combination,News Corp would also acquire control over 49 per cent interest of ESPN Star Sports in Premier Hockey Development Pvt Ltd,a joint venture between ESPN Star Sports and the Indian Hockey Federation,” the order said.
Incorporated in the British Virgin Islands,StarTV ATC is engaged in making and holding investments. Currently,the entity does not have any assets or turnover in India or otherwise.
ESPN Star Sports has a portfolio of multimedia assets including its television networks (ESPN,STAR Sports,STAR Cricket,ESPNEWS,ESPN HD,STAR Cricket HD),broadband network (ESPN Player) and digital content services (espnstar.com,mobileESPN).