Murdoch plans to float Zee Network on U.S. stock market

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BOMBAY -- Rupert Murdoch hopes to float on the U.S. stock market the Zee Network, India's and Asia's most popular Hindustani-language satellite broadcaster, of which he is half owner, according to news reports.

"We are doing well in India with our partnership in Zee Television, which is profitable and we hope to float that company on the New York Stock Exchange within the next year," he reportedly told shareholders at News Corp.'s annual meeting in Adelaide, Australia on October 7.

Details of the plans are sketchy, however. Subhash Chandra, the India-born industrialist whose consortium owns the remaining 50% of Zee parent Asia Today, a Hong Kong-based company, was unavailable for comment.

Relations between Murdoch and Chandra have been strained over the past two years due to News Corp.- owned Hong Kong-based Star TV's foray into Hindustani-language programming. Chandra is upset that Star is treading on Zee's territory, violating an agreement between the broadcasters. Star continues to make losses despite its position as Asia's No.1 TV network.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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