Zee plants stake in Dubai b'caster Taj

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NEW DELHI -- Leading Mumbai-based broadcaster Zee Telefilms Ltd. said Monday that it had acquired a 50% stake in Dubai-based sports broadcaster Taj TV Ltd, which owns the Ten Sports channel.

Ten Sports was evaluated at an enterprise value of $114 million, Zee Telefilms said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange Monday, without disclosing how much it had paid.

Zee Telefilms expects Ten Sports to generate an average $50 million in annual revenue in the next three years, mainly from the right to broadcast cricket matches that Taj TV acquired from the cricket boards of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Among other sports, Ten Sports also has rights to the UEFA Champions Football League, U.S. Open tennis and the Hockey World Cup.

In a statement, Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra said, "This acquisition is an important step for Zee toward consolidation in the media industry. The acquisition of a stake in Ten Sports not only gives us a strong foothold in the arena of sports broadcasting across Asia but also strengthens our operations in the Middle East."

Commenting on the deal, Taj TV CEO Abdul Rahman Bukhatir said, "I believe that we will now take Ten Sports to unprecedented heights by joining hands with Zee and Chandra ... Ultimately, I see our partnership as one which will change the industry."

Ten Sports is distributed in India by the One Alliance which includes a wide bouquet of channels from Sony Entertainment Television, Discovery Channel and MTV Networks, among others.
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