Sun cold on Maa TV buy

MUMBAI: The Sun Network has put on hold its plans to acquire Maa TV, a Telugu language channel which runs mainly on SMS-based interactive game shows.

Negotiations between the two companies have come to a standstill for the last two months. "Both sides have not been pursuing further talks," says a source familiar with the developments.

No agreement could be reached on the valuation. There were other issues like a complete takeover which could not be sorted out, the source points out.

However, the talks can revive, he adds. For Sun, the acquisition of Maa TV would mean it gets a channel which already enjoys distribution in Andhra Pradesh. Besides, Sun feels it will be able to acquire a competing channel at a low price.

Maa Television Network executive director admits talks were initiated with Sun. "We were talking on a possible equity participation," he says. But he was not willing to comment further on the issue.

A source close to Gemini TV also confirmed talks had taken place between Sun and Maa TV executives. "But the talks have been in suspension for over two months," he says.

Some observers feel Sun's reluctance to acquire Maa TV may be related to the launch of Aditya, a Telugu entertainment channel targeted at the youth and family. But a final decision on whether Sun should acquire Maa TV or not has not been taken yet, the source says.

Maa TV is fighting on a turf dominated by Sun Network and ETV. Says Prasad, "Despite competition, we have reached a break even situation operationally. Our accumulated loss, though, is about Rs 60-70 million."



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