Sony will claim Indian Premier League rights as part of Zee’s merger

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Sony is set to take part in the Indian Premier League’s cricketing rights campaign this month as part of a Zee Entertainment press conference, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sony-Zee’s call for freedom of the press in 2023-2027 at the world’s most prestigious competition could spark a war with Walt Disney, the owner of India’s rival company Star India.

Some of those who will be present include Facebook, which is seeking their independence in 2017, Amazon and Reliance Jio of Mukesh Ambani. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, the governing body of the IPL, said this week that it wants to release money by the end of October.

“Obviously the game is one area that needs to be taken seriously. It will not only increase our audience, but will also enhance our digital offerings, “Vikas Somani, head of M&A at Zee, told the Financial Times.

“With the introduction of money as we have described in the trade, it gives us the opportunity to go and compete in the game.”

What he wants a partnership between Sony and Zee was announced last week as India’s largest entertainment group faces an uprising led by Invesco, a US fund that seeks to reform the committee and force Punit Goenka’s chief executive.

The deal has not yet been finalized but has formed the largest media group in India, from radio and studio to advertising. The two groups will control 27% of India’s markets, according to business company Edelweiss.

Sony will take a 53% stake in the company and make about $ 1.6bn, which Goenka and other executives will use to acquire content including games.

“It’s an important part of a very difficult time when the Indian market is moving from TV to digital. Games is a big, big part,” said one business expert. “In time, [it’s] it is possible that our integration into the Indian market will form the basis of Netflix’s marketing strategy. ”

India is a fast-growing entertainment market and the IPL is one of the most important. A two-month cricket tournament is held annually, attracting the world’s biggest stars. International and Indian companies are in line to sponsor or advertise the game.

IPL rights, which sold for $ 2.6bn in 2017, is expected to go at least 25% over the period, according to Santosh N, a partner with Duff & Phelps.

Sony has one of the most popular sports in India, announcing everything from international cricket matches to the Champions League. The company acquired the TEN Sports Network from Zee in 2016 and acquired IPL rights before losing the Star in 2017.

But Santosh said the partnership with Zee would make consumers more competitive. “I am [Sony and Zee] join hands, has beautiful flowers for fun and games. . . making it the most compelling advertiser, ”he said.

Satoshi Sakae, a researcher at Daiwa Securities, said the merger would allow Zee to “make its own smaller game”.

But the Sony-Zee alliance may not go beyond the design. Invesco, Zee’s largest shareholder with a stake of about 18%, this week took the company to court to force a shocking general meeting to oust Goenka.

Some advertisers have been offended by Zee’s alleged misconduct and poor management of Goenka, whose father founded the company in 1991.

The shareholder’s lawyer said the court had not challenged the agreement but felt it should be reviewed by the “appropriate board”.

Sony declined to comment and said what would happen on September 22 when it announced the merger with the Indian company.

Additional reports of Amy Kazmin in New Delhi

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