Mother-of-all-deals! Sony acquires Ten from Zee @ Rs 2.6k crore, Zee to exit sports for 4 yrs

01 Sep,2016

NP Singh of Sony Pictures Network and Punit Goenka of Zee Entertainment signing the agreement for the sale of the Ten Sports​ bouquet

 

By A Correspondent

 

Okay, we did know that the Zee group was keen on hiving off its sports channels. And we did know that Sony Pictures Network has major plans with sports, and has been hungry for acquisitions. But this announcement was big by all standards, and involved two broadcast superpowers.

On Wednesday, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) announced that SPN and its affiliates have entered into definitive agreements to acquire TEN Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE) and its subsidiaries for 385 million US dollars. The completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

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.

What this means is that the Zee group which had pioneer private league sports with the Indian Cricket League,  will now exit sports for the moment. For, as part of the deal, there is a non-compete clause which prevents Zee from getting into sports. This will also prevent Zee from participating in the auctions for the Indian Premier League due next year.

 

It may be noted 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.

 

Commenting on the acquisition, 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 Limited (ZEE) 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. 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, 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.”

 

According to industry and market observers, the move should help shore up the bottomline for Zee Entertainment. Sports has been a downer for Zeel, having not been able to measure up to the power of Star India in terms of rights for various sporting events, said an analyst on anonymity. “It’s better to not be a laggard, then just be in business for the sake of having your fingers in every pie.”

 

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