Advanced Television

Murdoch exercises Rotana option

May 16, 2011

By Chris Forrester

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has boosted its stake in Arabic music-to-films broadcaster Rotana Media Group. A year ago, News Corp bought nine per cent of Rotana, which is owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed, and with that purchase struck a deal which gave News Corp an option to double its stake within 18 months.

News Corp has exercised 50 per cent of that option, at a cost of $35 million. It can still exercise the option for the remaining slice by acting by this coming November. News Corp now owns 14.53 per cent of Rotana.

Rotana is the Middle East’s leading music producer and broadcaster and a major distributor (and broadcaster) of Arabic movies. It also beams out a number of free-to-air channels over the Middle East.  News Corp already broadcasts a dozen channels to the Middle East.
Additionally, Sky News Arabia, owned by a JV between BSkyB’s Sky News and an Abu Dhabi media company, is planning to launch early next year.

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