June 6 Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has
bought out Walt Disney Co's 50 percent stake in Asian
joint venture ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) for an undisclosed sum, the
two companies said on Wednesday, ending a 16-year partnership in
ESS operates 28 broadcast networks in 24 Asian countries,
including a number focused on cricket, one of the biggest sports
in the region.
"News Corporation's acquisition of the interest of ESS that
we did not already own ... furthers our commitment to delivering
incredible sports programming to consumers across the globe, and
particularly enhancing our position in sports programming in
emerging markets," said James Murdoch, deputy chief operating
officer and chairman & CEO international, News Corp.
Peter Hutton, senior vice president of sports for News
Corp's FOX International Channels, will take over as managing
director of ESS. He will succeed Manu Sawhney, who will stay on
until the end of August.
"After 16 years jointly managing ESS, we have decided to
independently pursue future opportunities in Asia," said John
Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman, Disney Media
"With the growing digital landscape in Asia, we look forward
to continuing to serve Asian sports fans through ESPN-branded
digital businesses like ESPNCricinfo, the leading digital
cricket brand in the world, ESPNFC and ESPN Mobile."