Murdoch sat wins India OK

ABP deal satisfies authorities after six-month saga

NEW DELHI — Rupert Murdoch’s Indian satcasting operation, Star News, has teamed with Indian media group ABP to broadcast its 24-hour news service in a deal finally acceptable to the government.

It got the greenlight Tuesday, ending a six-month saga during which politicos accused Murdoch of trying to beat India’s strict foreign investment rules.

Star News’ future had been uncertain since its April 1 launch because Murdoch’s Star owned a 49% stake in the holding company it formed to allow it to uplink directly from India.

New Delhi ordered the company to cut its holding in Media Content & Communications Services to 26%.

Repeated attempts by Star to change its shareholding were rejected by the government after it ruled that other equity holders were too closely linked with the company.

A Star spokesman said Tuesday it will hold a 26% stake worth 160 million rupees ($3.5 million) in MCCS. The other 74% will be held by ABP.

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