James Murdoch, the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Uday Shankar, the former head honcho of Disney India, announced today that they are forming a new venture to explore media opportunities in India, The Financial Times reported.
James Murdoch snapped ties to his family media empire after repeatedly disagreeing over editorial direction of news outlets controlled by his father. The junior Murdoch has repeatedly sought to distance himself from the conservative ideological orientation of his family-owned news outlets.
Once seen as a successor to lead Rupert Murdoch’s sprawling media operations, James Murdoch quit from the board of News Corp in July last year, citing differences of opinion with the editorial direction taken by family-owned media outlets like Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.
Using the part proceeds from the sale of 21st Century Fox to entertainment conglomerate Disney, James Mudoch started a private investment firm, Lupa Systems. Lupa focuses on companies within the technology and media industries, environmental sustainability, and emerging markets, particularly within the Indo-Pacific region.
Lupa has invested in a number of media and technology firms – from a Norwegian drone company to the Void, which puts virtual-reality experiences in malls to Vice, a digital media company.
Uday Shankar quit Disney last month. He had announced that he will be moving to an entrepreneurial career.
Originally a journalist, Uday Shankar became the CEO of Star India in 2007 and is widely credited with transforming the company's broadcast operations and made Star India one of the biggest media and entertainment companies in Asia. Uday Shankar was subsequently elevated to lead 21st Century Fox's operations throughout Asia.
Uday Shankar was appointed President of Walt Disney Asia Pacific when the Walt Disney Company acquired 21st Century Fox. Under his leadership, Star launched Hotstar – now Disney+ Hotstar –one of the most successful streaming services globally. Uday Shankar currently serves as the President of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
"After two decades of working in India and the region, at Star and more recently at Lupa Systems, it's great to be entering into a renewed partnership with Uday. Our collaborations over the years have been immensely rewarding for consumers, our various shareholders, and our colleagues. I'm very pleased to be renewing that partnership now. As connectivity continues to accelerate and expand across South Asia and the whole region, new opportunities for innovation, across consumer sectors, will multiply," said James Murdoch said on the partnership.
"James and I enjoyed a great partnership at Star and I am enormously excited to be in partnership with him again. At Star, we had the great benefit of working with the best and brightest Indian talent, combined with global vision and a desire to disrupt the old order. Digital Technology promises to transform the lives of many millions of people in this part of the world and I have every confidence that we can harness technology, enterprise, and tremendous talent to create a great business that is also great for society," said Uday Shakar commenting on the new partnership.
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