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Star Group may exit MCCS news venture in India

The Rupert Murdoch-controlled Star Group is pulling out of its nine-year news TV joint venture with Ananda Bazaar Patrika (ABP) in India, according to media speculation.

ABP is planning to buy out the 26% stake Star News Broadcasting holds in the venture to become sole owners of Media Content & Communications Services India (MCCS), reports Business Standard.

MCCS broadcasts three 24-hour news channels: the Hindi channel Star News, the Bengali language Star Ananda, and Star Majha, which broadcasts in the Marathi language.

The strains in the joint venture relationship have been long speculated upon. The launch by ABP, for example, of a Bangla general entertainment channel Sananda TV to compete with the popular Star Jalsa was reportedly a bone of contention for Murdoch's group. Likewise, when Star India sealed an advertising sales alliance a year ago with rival broadcaster NDTV for the three news channels, ABP was reportedly unhappy.

Although neither party have confirmed the news, an internal announcement on the split is expected as early as tomorrow (3 April), according to the newspaper.

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