SKY will link with rival Star

Major partners each have 17.7% stake in new co.

TOKYO — SKY Movies, a News Corp./Sony-owned satcaster, will merge with rival pay movie channel Star, owned by four other Hollywood majors: WB, Paramount, Universal and MGM on July 1.

The move ends the competition between the two Hollywood-backed movie services in Japan.

The new company will be called Star Channel, liquidating SKY Movies.

Sony and News Corp. — and their partners in Sky Movies Itochu and Tohokushinsha — will each have a 17.7% share in the new entity, with the rest divided among the Hollywood studios and other minor shareholders.

SKY Movies’ six movie channels, carried by digital satellite platform SKY Perfect, will be trimmed or discontinued by spring, while Star Channel will keep three analog pay channels on SKY Perfect.

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