Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has signed an agreement to acquire about 32 per cent of the shares of MSM, until now owned by Grandway Global Holdings Limited (Grandway) and Atlas Equifin Private Limited (Atlas). Post government approval, SPT, which is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will have a little over 94 per cent interest in MSM.
In an official communiqué, Andy Kaplan, president, worldwide networks, SPT, says, "SPT has enjoyed great success with our channels in India and this acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to entertaining Indian audiences. We'd especially like to thank Grandway and Atlas for their entrepreneurial spirit that helped to get this venture off the ground 17 years ago."
It is also learnt that the transaction will be closed by December. For the acquisition, SPT will have to pay an aggregate cash consideration of US$ 271 million to Grandway and Atlas. After the receipt of all the necessary government approvals, SPT is expected to pay US$ 145 million at the closing of this deal, which is by December, 2012. The rest of the money (US$126 million) will be paid in three equal annual instalments between March 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014.
For the record, SPT provides content to the television industry. It produces and distributes programming in genres including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform, broadcast and cable television, first-run and off-network syndication and digital distribution.
MSM operates television networks in India and its channels include Sony Entertainment Television (SET), a Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC); Max, a Hindi movie channel and official broadcaster of the Indian Premier League; SAB, another Hindi GEC; Pix, an English movie channel; Mix, a dedicated music channel; and the recently launched sports channel, Six.