Sony Pictures Networks India has agreed to acquire media baron Subhash Chandra-led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd’s sports broadcasting business housed under Ten Sports Network for $385 million (Rs 2,580 crore).
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, the companies said in a statement.
The Ten Sports channels being acquired include Ten 1, Ten 1 HD, Ten 2, Ten 3, Ten Golf HD and Ten Cricket. These channels operate in several countries, including in the Indian subcontinent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East and the Caribbean islands.
Ten Sports owns broadcast rights for the cricket boards of South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It also holds broadcast rights for wrestling, football, tennis, golf and athletics events.
The deal will strengthen the sports broadcasting business of Sony Pictures in India.
“India has been a strong driver of Sony Pictures’ growing networks business for two decades, and sports continue to play a significant role in that growth,” said Andy Kaplan, president, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television.
Kaplan said the acquisition of Ten Sports will expand Sony’s reach to 800 million viewers in India and help it broadcast many of the most popular sporting events in the world.
Punit Goenka, managing director at Zee, said the deal is a step toward a strategic portfolio shuffle as it grows its general entertainment business in India and overseas markets.
“While we have grown our sports business over the last 10 years through acquisition of content at competitive prices, our focus now is on transforming ourselves into an all-round media and content company, comprising five verticals, viz. broadcast, digital, films, live events, and international business; and we continue to move rapidly towards our set business goals,” Goenka said.
Zee Entertainment had recently launched an English news channel called WION. It is also entering the teleshopping business with the acquisition of two companies from Living Media India Ltd, also known as India Today Group. Earlier this year, it had launched a second video streaming platform called OZEE, a free-to-watch over-the-top platform.
Sony Pictures Networks, earlier called Multi Screen Media Private Ltd, is a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which operates a network of entertainment channels. Sony Pictures Networks competes with Star India, owned by Rupert Murdoch-led 21st Century Fox, in India’s sports broadcasting segment. Murdoch also controls News Corp, the parent of this news website.
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