Rajiv Chandrasekhar acquires majority stake in Asianet

Mumbai: Former BPL Mobile CEO Rajiv Chandrasekhar has acquired 51 per cent stake in Asianet Communications, a leading Malayalam television channel. The stake acquisition comes with the chairmanship of Asianet.

The acquisition was done through his Bangalore-based company, Jupiter Entertainment Ventures (JEV).

The acquisition is part of Chandrasekhar's major expansion plans, which include new Asianet channels in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu as also FM radio stations, an Asianet press release said. The Kannada channel is expected to be launched early next year, for which work is progressing well, it said.

Raji Menon, the original promoter of Asianet TV, will continue to hold 26 per cent of the equity, while a significant portion of the rest of the stake will be with Asianet managing director K Madhavan, whose current small stake will be upped. Two brothers of Raji Menon and Asianet MD KP Mohanan also hold minority stakes, Asianet sources said.

Madhavan will continue to be the MD of the company and will in addition be the vice chairman. Asianet claims to have a 35 per cent share of Kerala's Rs 250 crore ad market. It has three channels - Asianet, Asianet News and Asianet Plus for youth.

Chandrasekhar's Jupiter Strategic Technologies is also in an expansion mode. It has already invested Rs 50 crore and now employs around 100 engineers. This is expected to go up to 250 by 2007 and 500 by 2008.