James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's youngest son, has been named chairman and chief executive of News Corp's Asian television platform Star TV.
Star, which is valued at $8-15bn is set to become part of News Corp's global television platform Platco, which will also encompass the company's interests in BSkyB, Sky Latin America, Japan's SKYPerfecTV, Stream in Italy and Germany's Premiere. Murdoch said earlier this year that he plans to float Platco in what analysts describe as potentially the largest media IPO valued at up to $50bn.
Murdoch, 27, formerly headed up News Corp's digital subsidiaries and News Corp Music, but moved from New York to Hong Kong to work on Star's inclusion in Platco. In his new role he replaces Gareth Chang, who left the company earlier this year, and would report to chief operating officer Chase Carey in New York.
Murdoch's sister Elisabeth Murdoch recently dropped out of the family succession race by quitting her post as BSkyB's managing director of Sky Networks (Screendaily, May 3). James' appointment raises questions about his future role with News Corp, but Rupert Murdoch has already named News Corp president Peter Chernin as his most likely successor.
Meanwhile, Richard Li's Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) denied that a pay-TV and Internet joint venture between Star TV and Cable & Wireless HKT - which Li is in the process of acquiring - is in jeopardy. Star had earlier questioned the viability of the proposal, but a PCCW spokesperson said: "We are very positive about the joint venture."
In a statement Star had said: "The cost of operating these businesses using the C&W HKT infrastructure is much higher than anticipated'. As a result, we have not approved any plans to move forward."