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Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has entered into definitive agreements to acquire TEN Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE) for $385 million. This acquisition will give SPN a strong footing in a market dominated by 21st Century Fox-owned Star India until now.
“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,” says NP Singh, CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India.
Punit Goenka, managing director, Zee, says that this is a landmark deal for Zee and a step towards a “strategic portfolio shuffle” as they grow their 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 five verticals, viz broadcast, digital, films, live events, and international business; and we continue to move rapidly towards our set business goals,” he says.
The completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and may take a few months. On completion, it will add the TEN Sports channels – TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3, TEN Golf HD, TEN Cricket, TEN Sports – to SPN’s existing kitty. Consequently, TEN Sports tournaments like French League, English Football League Cup, WWE, Moto GP, Tour de France and athletic events like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games will get added to SPN’s current sports properties, which include IPL, FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia and UEFA Euro 2016, tennis tournaments like Australian Open, Pro Wrestling League, NBA and Premier Futsal among others.
Andy Kaplan, president, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television, says that 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,” he adds in a press statement.