Sony acquires Ten Sports from Zee for $385 mn

Sony Pictures Networks has acquired sports channel Ten Sports from Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd (ZEEL) for $385 million in an all-cash deal, in one of the biggest deals in the broadcasting space in India.

Subhash Chandra-owned Zee has also agreed to a non-compete clause for four years.

With the $385 million acquisition, Sony Pictures will now own the seven channels in the Ten Sports bouquet, and also emerge as a major cricket broadcaster in Asia.

Sony Corp-owned SPN holds broadcast rights for the annual cash-rich Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament while also having the rights for the domestic leagues in South Africa and the West Indies.

''The investments required to continue in the sports business were high. Sony approached us and the valuation seemed good to exit and focus on our core category. We hope to complete the deal in the next 4-5 months,'' Business Line quoted Punit Goenka, MD, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, as saying.

ZEEL had bought Ten Sports from Dubai-based Abdul Rahman Bukhatir's Taj Group in 2006. Zee operates the sports broadcasting business under Taj TV Ltd, Mauritius, which has been distributing the TEN brand in India. The sports broadcasting business accounted for Rs631 crore in revenue and a net loss of Rs37.20 crore for 2015-16.

Commenting on the deal, Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India CEO NP Singh said, ''The acquisition will strengthen SPN's offering for viewers of cricket, football and fight sports, complementing our existing portfolio of international and domestic properties.''

Sony Corp-owned SPN holds broadcast rights for the annual cash-rich Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament while also having the rights for the domestic leagues in South Africa and the West Indies.

TEN sports will now add all three formats of international cricket to the network with the broadcast rights of boards in South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

SPN's biggest competitor Star Sports, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, owns rights to cricket giants India's home matches, Australia, England and also the International Cricket Council-organised World Cups.