Zee acquires 50% stake in Ten Sports

As part of its efforts to enter into the lucrative sports telecast business, Indian media giant, Zee Telefilms has bought 50% stake in Dubai-based Taj Television’s Ten Sports channel, for an undisclosed amount.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  November 29, 2006

As part of its efforts to enter into the lucrative sports telecast business, Indian media giant, Zee Telefilms has bought 50% stake in Dubai-based Taj Television’s Ten Sports channel, for an undisclosed amount. The all-cash purchase was based on a total value of US $114 million for Taj TV. Zee has the option to buy the remaining stake in Ten Sports after 2009. “This is an important step for Zee towards consolidation in the media industry. The acquisition not only gives us a strong foothold across Asia but also strengthens our operations in the Middle East,” says Zee’s chairman, Subhash Chandra. Zee Telefilms’ sports channel, Zee Sports was launched in 2004 and is a relatively new entrant, while Ten Sports has been around in India since 2002. With the acquisition of Ten Sports — which telecasts to the Middle East, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Hong Kong — Zee will get rights to matches of the cricket boards of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. These rights combined with the BCCI neutral venue rights that Zee Sports has, creates the single largest repertoire of cricket programming. Zee Sports also recently bid for rights to the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cups and tournaments for the next eight years. If it wins the bid, the presence of Ten Sports in its fold would augment its cricket broadcast revenues enormously, according to analysts. Ten Sports owns the exclusive rights for the WWE, the UEFA Champions League, US Open tennis and World Cup hockey. The partnership will enable both channels to leverage these properties to their maximum potential. Speaking about the deal, Himanshu Mody, business head of Zee Sports, says: “The addition of Ten Sports enables further effective exploitation of all our sports properties. We should be able to run the two channels at much better economies of scale.” Ten Sports, which is based in Dubai Media City, operates separate beams in the Middle East, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Hong Kong.

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