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Sony Pictures acquires Ten Sports from ZEEL for $385mn

The Ten Sports channels being acquired include Ten 1, Ten 1 Hd, Ten 2, Ten 3, Ten Golf HD, Ten Cricket, Ten Sports that operate in several countries including the Indian sub-continent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Caribbean

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | August 31, 2016

NP Singh and Punit Goenka signing agreements NP Singh and Punit Goenka signing agreements

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) today announced that SPN and its affiliates have entered into definitive agreements to acquire Ten Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) and its subsidiaries for $385 million. Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. The acquisition will add South Asia's leading sports network to SPN’s existing portfolio of channels.

The Ten Sports channels being acquired include Ten 1, Ten 1 HD, Ten 2, Ten 3, Ten Golf HD, Ten Cricket, Ten Sports that operate in several countries including the Indian sub-continent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Caribbean.

Ten Sports holds broadcast rights to major cricket boards (South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe). In addition, Ten Sports holds rights to wrestling (WWE), football (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, French League, English Football League Cup), tennis (WTA Events, ATP events), golf (European Tour, Asian Tour, Ryder Cup, US PGA Championship, LPGA Tour, Professional Golf Tour of India and Golf Channel Block), athletics (Asian Games, Commonwealth Games), motor sports (Moto GP) and cycling (Tour de France) events.

Long a television destination for sports fans, SPN sports properties include cricket (IPL, CPL, Ram Slam), football (FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia, UEFA Euro 2016, FIFA World Events including FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 in India, European and South American Qualifiers for FIFA WC 2018, FIFA Confederations Cup, La Liga, Serie A, FA Cup, Copa America Centenario, International Champions Cup), tennis (Australian Open, ATP 1000 and 500 World Tour Events, Champions Tennis League), fight sports (TNA, UFC, Pro Wrestling League), basketball (NBA) as well as NFL and Premier Futsal.

NP Singh, CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India, said, “I welcome TEN Sports to the Sony family. The acquisition of Ten Sports Network will strengthen SPN’s offering for viewers of cricket, football and fight sports, complementing our existing portfolio of international and domestic sporting properties. It also aptly demonstrates SPN’s commitment to providing a broad range of sporting entertainment to fans across India and the sub-continent.”

Andy Kaplan, President, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television, added, “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. The acquisition of Ten Sports, following the launch of Sony ESPN channels, will mean that our Indian networks would reach over 800 million viewers and broadcast many of the most popular and prestigious sporting events in the world.”

Punit Goenka, Managing Director, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, commented, “This is a landmark deal for ZEE and a step towards a strategic portfolio shuffle as we grow our general entertainment business both in the domestic 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. While I have always been proud of our sports business, I strongly believe that Sony will add more value to it by taking it to even greater heights. I wish them all the success.”

The deal means that the sports broadcast business in India will henceforth be a two-horse race – Star Sports versus Sony.

It may be recalled that ZEEL had acquired a 50 per cent stake in Dubai-based Abdul Rahman Bukhatir’s Taj Group in 2006 for $57 million (Rs 2.6 billion at 2006 exchange rates). A further 45 per cent stake was purchased in 2010 for $44.145 million (Rs 2.1 billion). The balance 5 per cent stake was bought in 2011 for Rs 0.2 billion. In the last 10 years, Zee’s cumulative EBITDA loss from the sports business stands at Rs 640 crore (Rs 6.4 billion).

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