Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has forayed into Telugu television segment by entering into a strategic alliance with MAA Television Network Limited (MTN), which runs a network of Telugu television channels including the entertainment channel MAA TV, music channel MAA Music, MAA Movies and MAA Junior.
Under this alliance, SPT or its affiliates will pick up a 30% equity stake in MTN, subject to receiving necessary approvals from the concerned statutory authorities and will be an investor and a content provider to MTN. The company also informed that the majority shareholders of MAA Television Network and SPT have signed a Letter of Interest (LoI), although the financial details of this partnership was not disclosed.
At present, 95% of MAA Television Network Limited’s equity capital is controlled by four promoters which includes Industrialist N Prasad, Film actors K Chiranjeevi, and Nagarjuna Akkineni and film producer Allu Arvind.
In March 2009, Sony Pictures Television had ventured into regional TV with the acquisition of a Bengali movie channel Channel 8 for an undisclosed amount. Channel 8 later become a part of SPTI’s channel portfolio in India which included English channels AXN and Animax.
Other Key Deals
In January 2012, Reliance Industries (RIL) had divested a part of its interest in ETV Channels to TV18 Broadcast Limited. TV18 and Network18 had funded this acquisition through a consolidated Rs 5400 crore rights issue, a part of which is being subscribed to Network18 Promoters backed by RIL backed Independent Media Trust. In addition, Network18 group will provide preferential access to content from its media and web business to RIL’s subsidiary Infotel Broadband Services for its 4G services.
Prior to that, Time Warner had acquired 92 percent stake in NDTV Imagine for a sum of $126.5 million, via one of its group firms Turner Asia Pacific Ventures. Disney had also made a strategic investment in UTV, acquiring a 32.1% stake for $200 million. The company had later acquired a controlling interest of 80.25% in UTV through a subsidiary and integrated operations of the two companies.
Reports had also suggested Multi Screen Media, which runs general entertainment channel Sony Entertainment Television, was planning to acquire Ramoji Rao-owned Eenadu TV‘s network of regional channels. The deal was reportedly in advanced stage and it was likely to be finalized in the range of $500 to $600 million.