Star TV has joined the rush to invest in Internet ventures by unveiling plans to pump between $50m-$100m into Asian Internet properties including consumer portals in India.

The company is planning to take between 10 and 20 per cent equity stakes in popular Indian consumer portals, according to News Corp India chief executive Peter Mukerjea. It is also looking at the option of forming a joint venture with an Indian Internet service provider (ISP).

The first deal is expected in the next two weeks and industry insiders say the popular consumer web-site is one of the properties that Star is eyeing.

Hong Kong-based Star formed a new company, Ltd, last month to explore new on-line business opportunities and the development of Star's existing on-line assets in Asia.

Star TV has announced that it plans to float in the third quarter of 2000 - as part of owner Rupert Murdoch's restrucuturing of his satellite interests - which may be followed by a similar move by its Indian subsidiary.