Uday Shankar-James Murdoch to take 40% stake in Viacom18

Ex-Star and Disney India chairman Uday Shankar and media mogul James Murdoch plan to acquire almost 40% stake in Reliance-owned Viacom18, according to news reports.

Rupert Murdoch and Uday Shankar have plans to invest Rs 12,000 crore in Viacom18, primarily through fund infusion. The investment will be made by Lupa India, the company jointly set up by Shankar and Murdoch. The ex-Star head is expected to play an important role in the company’s operations.

Viacom 18, which runs TV and digital channels, is planning to foray into the sports arena.

According to media reports, Lupa India has no plans in the group’s news segment. Some media reports also say that Shankar will play a decisive role in solidifying the sports segment post the deal.

While Shankar holds 51% stake in Lupa India, James Murdoch has 49%. The duo had earlier raised $345 million via a special purpose acquisition company named Seven Island.

Viacom18, a joint venture with Reliance Industries Ltd-controlled TV18 holds a 51% stake. The rest is in the hands of Viacom CBS. The channel bouquet includes VH1 India, MTV India, History TV 18, Nickelodeon, Color channels, and India, Comedy Central India. Its production house, Viacom 18 Studios, is into the production of movies and digital content. The group also owns the streaming platform named Voot. Reports say that Reliance’s TV18 will continue to have 51% stake. The Shankar-Murdoch duo will have a 39% stake.


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