Media Firm Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd (ZEEL) has sold its sports channel Ten Sports to Sony Pictures Networks for a $385 million, as it rejigs its media content delivery businesses.
TEN Sports holds broadcast rights to major cricket boards in South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies. It also holds rights for football's UEFA Champions League, Europa League, French League and English Football Cup among other sports.
“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. It also aptly demonstrates SPN’s commitment to providing a broad range of sporting entertainment to fans across India and the sub-continent,” Sony Pictures Networks India CEO NP Singh said.
ZEEL had bought Ten Sports from Dubai-based Abdul Rahman Bukhatir’s Taj Group in 2006.
The TEN Sports channels being acquired include TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3, TEN Golf HD, TEN Cricket, TEN Sports that operate in several countries including the Indian sub-continent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Caribbean.
Sony, which holds broadcast rights for the cash-rich Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament, has also won the rights for the FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018.
Analysts have said that Zee Entertainment, which lacked a sizable presence in the sports category, will see a jump in earnings in the next two fiscal years as it sells off the money-losing venture.
Zee's sports broadcasting business had revenues of 6.31 billion rupees ($94.21 million) and a loss of 372 million rupees for fiscal year 2016, according to a company statement.