Reliance buys into cricket portal

Plans to invest $60 mil-$70 mil in Willow.TV

NEW DELHI -- Reliance Big Entertainment is taking a 75% stake in U.S.-based cricket webcasting portal Willow.TV for an undisclosed amount, local media reported Monday.

RBE -- owned by diversified conglomerate Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, which is reportedly in talks to fund DreamWorks' exit from Paramount -- also said it will invest about $60 million in the portal over the next two years, with this amount including the acquisition price, according to president Rajesh Sawhney.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Willow.TV claims to be the world's largest live streaming video site for cricket, with a subscriber base of more than 1 million users primarily in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe.

Willow.TV streams major cricket events such as this summer's successful debut of the Indian Premier League.

"The acquisition of Willow.TV is in line with our strategy to strengthen our presence in the global markets and reinforce our group's presence in new media," RBE president Rajesh Sawhney said. "We are also looking at launching a video-box service which will seamlessly integrate cricket, movie and television content on the television screen, which would give our audience great choice and a better viewing experience."
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