News Corp spending $70m buying into Middle Eastern TV

News Corp has agreed a US$70 million deal to take a stake in Rotana Group, which owns a host of free-to-air channels in the Middle East.

US-based media giant News Corp will get a 9% stake for its US$70 million and the agreement includes a provision for it to double this within 18 months of the original deal closing.

Rotana is owned by Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. As well as owning the LBC Sat, Cinema, Khalijiyah and Musica channels, it also has a 1,500-title Arab movie library and radio and publishing interests. It has its own ad-sales operation in the region.

News Corp has been linked to Rotana for some months and confirmed the deal this morning.

“A stake in Rotana expands our presence in a region with a young and growing population, where GDP growth is set to outstrip that of more developed economies in the years ahead,” said News’ chairman and CEO, Europe and Asia, James Murdoch.

“This investment will strengthen our existing relationship, building Rotana’s presence across the region and expanding its reach to the Arab diaspora around the world,” said Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

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