News Corp takes full control of ESPN Star Sports
06 June 2012
News Corporation is to take full control of ESPN Star Sports (ESS), after reaching an agreement with Disney-owned ESPN to buy-out its 50% equity stake in the company.
News Corp will take full control of ESS, after buying the stake that it does not already own. As a result, it will own and operate all of the ESS businesses and boost its presence in Asia.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval. ESS will continue to be jointly managed by the two companies until the transaction is completed.
“News Corporation’s acquisition of the interest of ESS that we did not already own continues the programme of simplifying our operating model, consolidating our affiliate ownership structures, and furthers our commitment to enhancing our position in sports programming in emerging markets,” says News Corporation deputy chief operating officer and chairman and chief executive international James Murdoch.
“After 16 years jointly managing ESS, we have decided to independently pursue future opportunities in Asia,” says Disney Media Networks co-chairman and ESPN president John Skipper. “We are proud of our role in building ESS into what it is today, and now with the growing digital landscape in Asia, we look forward to continuing to serve Asian sports fans through ESPN-branded digital businesses.”
ESS managing director Manu Sawhney is leaving the company and will be replaced by Fox International Channels senior vice-president of sports Peter Hutton.
The news follows ESPN's plans to scale back its international operations and leave markets which do not become profitable.
Jenni Baker, London