ZEE buys 50% stake in Ten Sports

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ZEE Network has bought a 50% stake in Ten Sports in India.

On the acquisition, Mr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE Telefilms Ltd. said: “This acquisition is an important step from ZEE towards consolidation in the media industry. We are confident that this will add significant value for the shareholders of ZEE. 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.

I have known Mr. Abdul Rahman Bukhatir for sometime now and have the greatest respect for him as a businessman and his leadership as one of the most successful conglomerates in the Middle East and more particularly the achievements that he has had in the areas of manufacturing, retail, construction, and especially the way he has popularized cricket in the Middle East. I am certain that our joint partnership will result in a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Mr. Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the promoter of Ten Sports said; “I am very proud of the success we have been able to achieve with Ten Sports. Sports television is an extremely challenging business, and yet we have in a short time established ourselves as a major player. I believe that we will now take Ten Sports to unprecedented heights by joining hands with ZEE and Mr. Subhash Chandra. I have the utmost respect for him as a business man and I have been very impressed by the leadership position he and his team have staked out in every line of the media business, from content to cable to DTH to international. Ultimately, I see our partnership as one which will change the industry”.

ZEE Sports and Ten Sports will be able to draw significant amount of synergies from each other in operating in the Asian market place. Moreover, this move would consolidate the number of sports broadcasters in India, thereby bringing about a price correction in the burgeoning rights fees for various sports properties.

Mr. Himanshu Mody, Business Head, ZEE Sports said; “The addition of Ten Sports gives us a significant strength enabling further effective exploitation of all our sports properties. The operational synergies between ZEE Sports and Ten Sports would be tremendous and we should be able to run the two channels at much better economies of scale.”

On the occasion, Mr. Chris McDonald, CEO, Ten Sports said; “As has been reported on many occasions, we had been in discussions with various potential strategic investors. Without question ZEE, Asia’s premier media concern, is the right choice for us. They bring many strengths to our business, and I am very excited to immediately work with Himanshu Mody and his team to turn the great potential of our partnership into reality.”

The Dubai-based channel had been in negotiations with Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India but it appears that a US$ 114 million (all-cash deal for $57.15 million) offer from ZEE was enough to seal the deal. last month, Sony’s deal collapsed, paving the way for ZEE to snatch the deal.

ZEE’s sports business has looked weak after it lost out to Nimbus in the battle for telecast rights to cricket played in India. Today’s tie will help ZEE as Ten Sports has telecast rights to cricket played in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies.

ZEE Network is now poised to snap up the rights for the ICC cricket, an announcement of this will follow in the next few days. Earlier BizAsia.co.uk reported that ZEE Network may well have stumped rival bidders with an astounding $900-million bid for the prestigious deal.

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