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Sony Pictures Networks India said Wednesday that it has struck a definitive agreement to acquire Ten Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises for $385 million.
The acquisition will add the big South Asian sports network to Sony’s existing portfolio of channels. Completion of the deal 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 and Ten Sports. The business operates in India, the Indian sub-continent, the Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East and the Caribbean.
Ten Sports has rights to major cricket leagues, WWE wrestling, soccer events (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and French League, among others), tennis (WTA events, ATP events), golf (European Tour, Asian Tour, Ryder Cup and more), athletics (Asian Games, Commonwealth Games), motor sports (Moto GP) and cycling (Tour de France).
“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,” Andy Kaplan, president, worldwide networks at Sony Pictures Television, said in a statement. “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.”
Added NP Singh, CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India: “The acquisition of Ten Sports Network will strengthen SPN’s offering for viewers of cricket, [soccer] 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.”
Sony’s Indian networks feature such sports as cricket, soccer, NFL football, tennis, fight sports and NBA basketball.
Punit Goenka, managing director at Zee Entertainment, explained the rationale behind the sale: “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,” namely broadcast, digital, films, live events and international.
Sony has made network acquisitions in Europe and beyond as it has continued to grow its international channels business.
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