Rupert Murdoch's Star India has chosen Calcutta publisher ABP as the dominant partner for its recently launched Hindi news channel. Star India is expected to announce the deal soon. The Business Standard daily reported yesterday that ABP, which owns Calcutta's leading English and Bengali dailies, would pick up the majority equity in Media Content and Communications Services (MCCS), a company floated by Mr Murdoch to supply content to his Hindi language Star News channel launched in April. Controversy surrounding earlier Indian investors in MCCS, in which Star India has a 26 per cent stake, had forced the Indian government to revise regulations governing the corporate structure of television news companies. The government wants management and editorial control of television news to remain in Indian hands. In line with the new rules, ABP will be the dominant partner in MCCS. Business Standard reported that the Calcutta group would pay 750 million rupees (HK$128 million) for a 74 per cent stake. This would value MCCS at about one billion rupees, higher than its earlier valuation of a meagre 40 million rupees but still less than the valuations for rival television channels. New Delhi Television, which used to be the content provider for the now defunct Star News English channel, was recently valued at 3.5 billion rupees. A Star India source, while indicating that the ABP deal had been sealed, said the details - whether the Calcutta company gained 74 per cent or 51 per cent (the minimum under the new rules), and at what price - would be confirmed when chief executive Peter Mukherjea made the announcement. The alliance with Star would be a major coup for ABP owner Aveek Sarkar, who outbid his main competitor, Nusli Wadia of Bombay Dyeing, in a final round of intense negotiations with Star Group chairman James Murdoch. Mr Murdoch last week flew to Mumbai, where Star India is headquartered, to finalise the majority Indian partner for Star News. ABP has focused on print media but its foray into electronic news is expected to be the first of a series of acquisitions in India's booming electronic media. Business Standard reported that Mr Sarkar might have been helped by the powerful Ambani family of Reliance, India's premier business group. The Ambanis have been locked for decades in a feud with Mr Wadia, and would have been keen to prevent their rival from entering the politically influential television news business.