Media company Multi Screen Media, which runs general entertainment channel Sony Entertainment Television, is all set to acquire Eenadu TV‘s network of regional channels, which is run by media baron, Ramoji Rao, reports Business Standard. Citing four independent sources, the report mentions that the talks are in advanced stage and and that an announcement is expected shortly. According to the media reports, the deal is likely to be finalized in the range of $500 to $600 million (Rs 2250 – Rs 2400 crore). ETV’s Telegu language news channel ETV2 will not be a part of the deal.
In the wake of the deal, ETV’s channels had stopped broadcasting hourly news bulletins, since there is a 26 per cent foreign direct investment cap on news operations, to avoid any conflict. The report also mentions that the deal will be in tranches and will allow some investors including Nimesh Kampani of JM Financial to exit. Both parties did not comment on the development.
The deal will help Sony-MSM in gaining a stronghold in regional markets, where its competitors Zee and Star have already made inroads by launching news and generic entertainment channels. Sony had launched Aath, a Bengali movie television channel, last year. MSM runs six channels, Sony TV, SAB TV, Set Max, Sony Pix, AXN and Animax.
If it goes through, the deal will be the largest in the Indian television space. In 2009, Time Warner had acquired a 92% stake in NDTV’s subsidiary, Imagine for $126.5 million,via Turner Asia Pacific Ventures, another of its group firms. Disney had also made a strategic investment in UTV, acquiring a 32.1% stake for $200 million.