Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) will buy Zee Entertainment Enterprise television channel Ten Sports by the end of this month. The value of the deal, which is pegged at Rs. 2,000 crore, would leave the broadcast of sports in India in the hands of Rupert-Murdoch's Star and Japan's conglomerate, Sony.
"Zee has been looking to sell Ten Sports for sometime as (Subhash) Chandra and his son Punit Goenka (who is the managing director at Zee) are not much inclined towards running a loss-making sports business," a source was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.
Once the deal is finalised, Sony will add five new channels to its existing four channels.
The source further said that though the talks between the two companies began a few months ago, they progressed rapidly only in the last few weeks. "The deal is almost done and should be officially announced within the next three weeks," the source was quoted as saying by the daily.
A senior executive of a sports broadcasting company told the publication that the deal would be good for both the parties (Sony as well as Zee). "Ten Sport's long-term contract deals particularly with WWE and other cricket boards make Sony less reliant on IPL renewal, while Zee gets rid of a business that has brought down margins and cash to invest in other things," the source added.
The deal would also help Sony get a foothold in the African and Middle East markets where Ten Sports has a sizeable presence.
Sony Pictures Network India is a subsidiary of the Sony Cooperation and owns the Sony entertainment network of channels, including MAX, MAX2, SAB, AXN and Sony Entertainment, besides various other regional channels.
The Zee Entertainment Enterprise had bought Ten Sports from Dubai-based Abdul Rahman Bukhtair's Taj Group about 10 years ago.