Television

SPN India acquires ZEEL's Ten Sports for USD 385 mn

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MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) today announced that SPN and its affiliates have entered into definitive agreements to acquire TEN Sports Network, owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zee) and its subsidiaries, for $ 385 million.

However, completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition will add to SPN?s existing portfolio of channels TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3, TEN Golf HD, TEN Cricket, a Zee-Sony co-branded official statement stated.

TEN Sports which operates in several countries, including the Indian sub-continent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Caribbean, 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 Europe 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.

?I welcome TEN Sports to the Sony family. The acquisition of TEN Sports Network will strengthen SPNI?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,? the official statement quoted SPNI CEO NP Singh as saying.

SPN?s 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, LaLiga, 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.

Commenting on the deal, speculated in the media and financial circles for quite some time now, Zee MD Punit Goenka said: ?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.?

Further dwelling on a restructuring and re-jigging of portfolios currently on in Zee, Goenka added: ?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 --- broadcast, digital, films, live events, and international business. 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.?
Sony Pictures Television President, Worldwide Networks, Andy Kaplan said in a statement: ?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.?

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