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Sony signs $385m deal for Ten Sports takeover

Media group Sony Pictures Networks India has today (Wednesday) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Ten Sports arm of pay-television operator Zee Entertainment Enterprises in a deal valued at $385m (€340.4m).

The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, will add Ten Sports’ array of channels to SPN’s existing portfolio, cementing SPN and pay-television broadcaster Star India’s positions as the two dominant sports broadcasters in India.

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 platform operates in several markets including the Indian sub-continent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East and Caribbean.

Ten’s sports rights properties include football’s Uefa Champions League and Europa League; cricket from the Pakistan Cricket Board, West Indies Cricket Board, Sri Lanka Cricket and Cricket South Africa; golf’s Ryder Cup, European Tour and Asian Tour; multi-sport events in the form of the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games; and tennis grand slam the US Open, as well as men’s ATP events and women’s WTA tournaments.

Today’s agreement follows weeks of speculation concerning the future of Ten Sports. Earlier this week, Zee said it was in advanced talks for the sale of Ten Sports following earlier reports that SPN was set to complete an acquisition – news that was denied by both parties at the time.

Ten Sports was acquired in 2010 by Zee when it bought the UAE-based Taj Television. Punit Goenka, Zee’s managing director, said the sale was a strategic move by the company. “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,” he said.

“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 business; and we continue to move rapidly towards our set business goals. While I have always been proud of our sports business, I strongly believe that Sony will add more value to it by taking it to even greater heights. I wish them all the success.”

Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks for Sony Pictures Television, added: “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 will reach over 800 million viewers and broadcast many of the most popular and prestigious sporting events in the world.”