James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox has joined Uday Shankar, former president of the Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star and Disney India, to form a new venture that would explore technology and media opportunities in emerging markets.
Murdoch and Shankar’s association goes back a long way. The latter was overseeing News Corp’s Asia business in the late-2000s. Walt Disney had later acquired 21st Century Fox Inc. in a $71 billion cash-and-stock deal in June 2018, which made Star India, Fox Star Studios, and Hotstar part of Walt Disney.
A report in the Financial Times said the project brings the two back together with the aim of building a “large-scale” business in areas of digital media, education and healthcare delivery, developed in part through acquisitions. While the name of the venture and its precise strategy have yet to be disclosed, Murdoch told FT that it would be a “major priority” and a “centre of gravity” for his Lupa Systems holding company.
Lupa is a private investment vehicle with presence in New York and Mumbai that has invested in online learning institution Harappa Education in India.
“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,” Murdoch said in a statement.
Shankar had announced that he was stepping down from Disney this October to pursue an entrepreneurial venture with funding from global investors and that he wanted to give back to the country, community and the industry.
“James and I enjoyed a great partnership at Star and I am enormously excited to be in partnership with him again. 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,” Shankar said in a statement.
This article was first published on livemint.com