Asianet News (formerly Asianet Global) is a Malayalam news channel owned by Jupiter Media and Entertainment Venture. The channel is not a part of the STAR India owned Asianet Communications Limited, but comes under the Asianet News Network (ANN) wing of the Jupiter Media. Kaushik Ghosh is the current CEO of Asianet News Network (ANN). The channel is based in Thiruvananthapuram.
In June 2001, Asianet Communications started a second channel "Asianet Global" targeting the huge expatriate Malayalee population in the Middle East region. The company was toying with the idea of a news channel for a long time. It was with this intention that Asianet Global was launched, however there were very few news-based programmes which later gave way to film-based entertainment ones. But with Asianet Global not fetching returns, the management decided to go in for an entertainment channel called "Asianet Plus" and wind up Asianet Global. Midway through the process, there was a rethink and the concept of a news channel was revived. The channel was re-branded as Asianet News on 1 May 2003.
The Asianet channel company and a cable company bearing the same name were promoted by Sashi Kumar with seed capital provided by Reji Menon. When the companies faced a financial crunch, the real estate firm of Rahejas helped, and it was given 50% stake in the cable operations. As business prospered, the Rahejas wanted a stake in the channel operations too. While Sashi Kumar, who held half the shares, resisted their overtures, Reji Menon, who held the remaining half, struck a deal with them. Under the deal, the Rahejas got full control over the cable company. An attempt by Zee Group to acquire Asianet from Menon fell through apparently because the severance agreement with the cable company prohibits the channel's takeover by a company with interest in cable operations.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar acquired a 51% stake in Asianet (Asianet News, Asianet and Asianet Plus) through Jupiter Entertainment Ventures in 2006. While there was no official word on the size of the investment, the figure is thought to range between Rs 120-150-crore. The remaining 49% stake was held by Reji Menon and Asianet MD K Madhavan with Zee Group holding a small 3% stake. Mr Madhavan continued as the Managing Director of Asianet, while Rajeev Chandrasekhar will assumed chairmanship of the company.
STAR India bought a majority stake in Asianet Communications Limited (Asianet and Asianet Plus, excluding Asianet News) and formed joint venture with Rajeev Chandrasekhar in 2008. It was not clear how much stake the original founders and promoters like Reji Menon hold in the new joint venture. Reji Menon holds about 26% stake. Rajeev Chandrasekhar completely exited his general entertainment channels to STAR India in 2013, which included Vijay TV in Tamil, and Asianet and Asianet Plus.