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Rediff.com  » Business » Ten Sports in JV talks with R-ADAG, Zee

Ten Sports in JV talks with R-ADAG, Zee

October 23, 2006 13:35 IST
Dubai-based Taj Television, the owner of Ten Sports, is believed to be in talks with Zee Telefilms and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG) for the sale of 50 per cent stake in the sports broadcaster, after its talks with Set Entertainment Television  fell through.

The equity sale for Ten Sports with valuation pegged at $140 million - is expected to be clinched by mid-November.

Through the sale, Ten Sports is looking to form a 50:50 joint venture on the lines of ESPN Star Sports, with substantial bidding clout when cricket properties come up for auction, as well as fund its expansion plans, a company executive close to the development said.

"The SET deal did not fail on account of valuation issues, as perceived, but because there were disagreements on distribution issues. Ten Sports is now in talks with R-ADAG as well as Zee Telefilms and the deal should be finalised in three weeks," the executive said.

While Sharmistha Rijwani, managing director, Ten Sports, said there was nothing to confirm at the moment, Zee and R-ADAG spokespersons dismissed any talks being held on the issue.

Although its properties in Sri Lanka, West Indies, Pakistan and Sharjah were coming to an end from the start of 2009, Ten's production facilities - touted to be one of the best - would make it an attractive proposition for buyers, a media analyst said.

Zee already has Zee Sports in its bouquet, but adding Ten Sports through an equal joint venture will enable it to bid aggressively whenever properties come up for sale.

As far as Reliance ADAG, which has been trying to enter the broadcasting business, is concerned, this buy will give it an immediate foothold in the industry, the analyst added.

The sports broadcaster, on its part, will be able to fund the expansion of its business through innovative programming, add newer game formats and focus on 'regionalised' sports.

"The regionalised sports content will include commentary in regional languages, among other things, that will draw in more viewers from non-Hindi speaking belt," said an official close to Ten Sports, which has also begun airing sports films on its channel recently.

Bhuma Shrivastava in New Delhi
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