Sony and Zee to bid for Indian Premier League cricket rights as a part of merger

Sony and Zee Leisure are set to bid for the Indian Premier League cricket rights this month as a part of a merger between Japanese and Indian corporations, based on individuals accustomed to the matter.

Sony-Zee’s bid for 2023-2027 media rights for one of many world’s most respected sporting occasions would arrange a combat with present holder Walt Disney, which owns rival Indian media firm Star India.

Different potential bidders embrace Fb, which bid for the rights in 2017, Amazon and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio. The Board of Management for Cricket in India, the IPL’s governing physique, mentioned this week that it plans to drift the tender on the finish of October.

“Definitely sport is an space that must be keenly watched. This is not going to solely increase our target market, however may also enrich our content material providing on digital platforms,” Vikas Somani, head of mergers and acquisitions at Zee, informed Monetary Occasions.

“With the money circulate supplied within the phrases of the transaction, this offers us the firepower to compete and bid competitively for these premium sports activities properties.”

The proposed merger was introduced final week as India’s largest listed leisure conglomerate faces a shareholder rebel led by US fund Invesco, which seeks to overtake the board and oust chief government Puneet Goenka. Is.

The deal is but to be finalized, however it should create the biggest media conglomerate in India, with the whole lot from tv channels and studios to streaming. In response to brokerage Edelweiss, the 2 teams will management 27 per cent of India’s media market.

Sony will take a 53 p.c stake within the mixed entity and make investments about $1.6 billion, which Goenka and different executives say might be used to accumulate content material, together with video games.

“It is a vital deal at a really essential time when India’s market is migrating from TV to digital. Sport is a really, very massive a part of it,” mentioned an individual accustomed to the deal. “In the long run, [it’s] It is fairly attainable that what we’re placing collectively within the India market will turn out to be the core of a Netflix-style streaming service.”

India is a quick rising leisure market and IPL is certainly one of its most respected property. A two-month, brief format cricket match takes place yearly, attracting the largest stars of the world. International and Indian corporations line as much as sponsor or promote throughout matches.

In response to Santosh N, managing associate at monetary consultancy Duff & Phelps, IPL rights, which had been bought for $2.6 billion in 2017, are anticipated to go up at the least 25 per cent this time.

Sony has an enormous sports activities presence in India, broadcasting the whole lot from worldwide cricket matches to the Champions League soccer competitors. The corporate acquired Ten Sports activities Community from Zee in 2016 and retained the IPL rights earlier than shedding it to Star in 2017.

Santosh mentioned the cope with Zee will create extra aggressive consumers. “with [Sony and Zee] By becoming a member of arms, they’ve an excellent bouquet of common leisure and sports activities channels. , , making it a really compelling bidder,” he mentioned.

Satoshi Sake, an analyst at Daiwa Securities, mentioned the merger would permit Zee to “consolidate the at the moment skinny enjoying content material.”

However the Sony-Zee deal could not go forward as it’s at the moment structured. Invesco, Zee’s largest shareholder with round 18 per cent stake, took the corporate to court docket for a rare common assembly in its try and oust Goenka.

Some buyers are dismayed about Zee’s poor efficiency and poor company governance beneath Goenka, whose father launched the corporate in 1991.

A lawyer for the shareholders mentioned in court docket that they weren’t towards the proposed merger, however felt it ought to be thought-about by an “acceptable board”.

Sony declined to remark and cited an announcement on September 22 asserting the proposed merger with the Indian firm.

Further reporting by Amy Kazmin in New Delhi

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