Murdoch’s Fox Sells Star China Stake to Management Group

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. sold its minority stake in Star China TV, part of a strategy to divest businesses in which the company can’t gain majority ownership.

China Media Capital and the management team of Star China, owner of three 24-hour Mandarin-language TV networks, are buying Fox’s 47 percent stake in the venture, the companies said yesterday in a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Fox is ramping up investments in television distribution and production in other countries. Last year, the company gained control of satellite TV operator Sky Deutschland AG (SKYD), and in June 2012 acquired the 50 percent of Star Sports in India it didn’t own from Walt Disney Co. (DIS) Fox sold a minority stake in set-top box maker NDS Group Ltd. in 2012.

“Today’s divestment underscores our broader agenda of streamlining our affiliate ownership structures,” James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer and the son of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, said in the statement.

China Media Capital, a media and entertainment focused fund, acquired 53 percent of Star China from Murdoch in 2010. Star China operates Xing Kong, Xing Kong International and Channel V Mainland China, as well as the Fortune Star Chinese movie library, according to the statement.

Fox continues to hold strategic investments where it doesn’t have majority ownership, including British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc and Hulu LLC. In May 2012, the company acquired about 17 percent of Beijing-based Bona Film Group Ltd. (BONA), one of China’s biggest film distributors.

Fox, owner of the Twentieth Century Fox film studio and U.S. cable channels including FX, gained 1.3 percent to $35.63 yesterday in New York. The Class A stock increased 56 percent last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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