Zee Telefilms buys stake in Asianet

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BOMBAY--Zee Telefilms has picked up a 51% stake in southern Malayalam satellite network Asianet Communications. Asianet's previous sole owner, Raji Menon, swapped the stake for $46.5 million worth of shares in Zee Telefilm.

Mr. Menon will retain his management role, but is now bound by a non-compete clause and can't launch channels in the same market categories as Zee. Zee describes the acquisition as a "major breakthrough for the group in the south region of the country," particularly since Asianet is poised to roll out a bouquet of channels in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil.Asianet remains a separate brand name and separate from Zee or the Alphabrands in all southern channel launches.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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