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Zee Media to acquire 80% stake in India Today’s merchandise & retail network


Zee Media, the digital arm of Zee Entertainment, will acquire 80% majority stake in two of India Today Group companies, Today Merchandise and Today Retail Network, reports the Mint. The companies in process of being acquired are working on creating a retail TV channel and and an ecommerce website to complement the network.

Zee Media’s BSE filing (pdf) mentions that it will increase its stake by investing up to Rs 126 crore over the next four years in the companies. The current investment will be made in tranches; by June Zee Media will acquire 49% stake in both the companies by investing Rs 39.78 crore and gain managerial as well as operational control over them. According to Zee Media it will be able to shorten the launch time of the retail TV channel and speed up scaling for the companies.

OZEE launch: Last week Zee Digital launched a new video on demand platform called OZEE which streams movies, TV shows, videos and music. As of now, users can use the platform for free, and don’t even have to login to view content. Note that Zee is pretty late to the show. Competitor Star India launched its video streaming service called Hotstar in January last year, while Sony launched its video streaming service called SonyLiv back in 2013.

Online only content: In June last year, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) digital ecosystem Zee Digital Convergence (ZDC) and its content studio Essel Vision Productions said that they were working on a new online-only instrumental musical show called Life is Music.

ZEEL also hired Piyush Sharma as the CEO of new initiatives for India and Asia-Pacific. In his new role, Sharma would be responsible for new initiatives like showcasing programming and content across multiple media platform including web, mobile and on-demand video.

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Sarthak acquisition: In July last year, Zee Entertainment approved in-principle acquisition of 100% equity stake in Sarthak Entertainment Private Limited, which owns and operates ‘SARTHAK’ an Odia language general entertainment channel. The company mentions that the acquisition is now complete, with Sarthak Entertainment becoming a wholly owned subsidiary from the 4th of December.

Financials: Advertising continued to increase its share in the revenue mix of Zee Entertainment as the company reported advertising revenues of Rs 941.88 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, up 26.8% year-on-year (YoY) compared to Rs 742.6 crore in the same period last year.

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