Zee Entertainment Enterprise Limited on Wednesday announced that it has sold its sports channel Ten Sports and its subsidiaries to Sony Pictures Networks for $385 million (Rs 2,579 crore approximately), reported PTI. However, the acquisition will be completed only after the regulatory body approves it.
In a filing at the Bombay Stock Exchange, Zee said, “The Board of the Directors of the company approved sale and transfer of the Sports Broadcasting Business of the company to Sony Pictures Networks India and its affiliates at an aggregate all-cash consideration of USD 385 million.” According to Livemint, the transaction should be over in the next five months.
This means, SPN will now have seven additional sports channels – TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3, TEN Golf HD, TEN Cricket and TEN Sports – to its existing portfolio of channels. The company’s Chief Executive Officer NP Singh told PTI, “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.”
Apart from India, the Ten Sports network operates in Singapore, the Caribbean, Middle East, Maldives and Hong Kong, reported Livemint. Andy Kaplan, President of SPN Worldwide Networks, told Economic Times, "After this deal, our Indian networks will reach over 800 million viewers and broadcast many of the most popular and prestigious sporting events in the world."
Managing Director of Zee, Punit Goenka, hailed it as a “landmark deal” for the company. He said, “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 of five verticals – broadcast, digital, films, live events and international business.”
Tuhin Mishra, co-founder of Baseline Ventures, said that the deal is a win-win situation for both companies. He said that for Sony, it will add to its sports offerings, while in the case of Zee, the sports channels had been “eating out of their profits.” Zee had bought Ten Sports from Abdul Rahman Bukhatir’s Taj Group in 2006. In the last financial year, the Sports Broadcasting Business posted a revenue of Rs 631 crore and net loss of Rs 37.20 crore.