Former Star India Chairman Uday Shankar joins hands with James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems

MUMBAI: Uday Shankar, who quit as Star India chairman and president for the Walt Disney Asia Pacific, is forming a new venture with James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems.
The new venture will explore technology and media opportunities in emerging markets, they said in a statement.

ET was first to
report on October 8th that Shankar was likely to join former employer Murdoch, who set up family office Lupa Systems, or start his own fund backed by Murdoch and other sovereign funds.

“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 Murdoch.

Murdoch’s father media mogul Rupert Murdoch, sold entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, including Star India, to Disney in a $71 billion cash and stock deal.

After completion of Disney deal, James Murdoch started Lupa Systems with a $2 billion investment. He hired Nitin Kukreja, former Star India CEO – Sports, and a close confidant of Shankar, as managing director for India.

“James and I enjoyed a great partnership at Star and I am enormously excited to be in partnership with him again,” said Shankar. “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, who ended his 13 year-stint at the top of India’s largest entertainment network, had said that he had been thinking about how he can give back to the country, community and the industry, for some time.

Shankar is known for making aggressive bets and trying out new concepts and ideas. Be it his Rs 16,347.50-crore all-or-nothing bid for the global media rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Rs 6,138.10-crore bid for the BCCI rights, or Rs 2,400-crore buyout deal for Maa TV Network, Shankar took bets that very few in the industry could.

Lupa Systems has so far invested in Vice Media, the Tribeca Film Festival and Art Basel globally and digital news platform Dailyhunt and online education start-up Harappa Education in India.