Zee Telefilms acquires 50 per cent stake in Ten Sports

After much speculation, the news is finally out: Zee Telefilms has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Ten Sports

Zee Telefilms and Taj Television have revealed that Zee Telefilms has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Ten Sports. The value of the deal is approximately Rs 513 crore. Ten Sports had been in talks with various television networks, including Zee and SET India, for quite a while now.

“The talks on the acquisition have been on for a few months and now we have reached a consensus,” says Himanshu Mody, business head, Zee Sports.

Subhash Chandra, chairman, Zee Telefilms, says, “This is a strategic step on our part to consolidate our standing in the media industry. 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.”

Chris McDonald, CEO, Ten Sports, adds, “We had been in discussions with potential investors and, in Zee, we have found the biggest strength.”

Zee Telefilms acquires 50 per cent stake in Ten Sports
Subhash Chandra
The two channels, Ten Sports and Zee Sports, will continue operating as separate entities, says Mody. When asked if there would be a new head for the venture, Mody says, “The current management will continue as it is. There will be no change in that regard.”

It is learnt that both the television channels will share and exploit content effectively. Both channels will also feature all kinds of sports and not categorise them as ‘cricket’ and ‘non-cricket’, as is popular.

At present, Ten Sports is distributed as part of the One Alliance bouquet. This will continue till March 2008, after which it may be distributed in the Zee-Turner bouquet.

Ten Sports has the rights to cricket properties such as the Pakistan Cricket Board, Sri Lanka Cricket Board, West Indies Cricket Board, UEFA Champions League, WWE, US Open and Hockey World Cup. Zee Sports has properties such as Indian Football, Davis Cup, WTA, Italian Serie A and the BCCI neutral venue rights, making this alliance a strong one.

Zee Sports may also grab the rights for the ICC Cricket World Cups and tournaments for the next eight years soon; its bid is a whopping US$900 million, the highest as of now.

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