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Sony Explores Stake in Indian Powerhouse Zee Entertainment (Report)

Sony is a leading candidate to acquire a share in Indian media conglomerate Zee Entertainment, according to media reports in India.

Last November, the Essel Group, which owns a 42% stake in Zee, announced a strategic review of its holding in the company, conducted by Goldman Sachs Securities, with a view to selling half its stake to a market leader in the global media and entertainment space. Sony is one of the potential buyers of some of those shares, the Economic Times and CNBC TV18 reported.

Zee currently has a market valuation of $5.8 billion. It operates 66 linear television channels across 171 countries and is expanding the reach of its VoD platform Zee5 around the world. The company also has interests in Indian and international film production. Zee Studios, the filmmaking arm of Zee Entertainment, co-produced Iranian auteur Majid Majidi’s “Beyond the Clouds.”

Sony Pictures Networks India operates 29 television channels and also has interests in Indian film production. Its VoD platform, Sony Liv, peaked in popularity during the 2018 soccer World Cup and has the second-largest reach in India, behind market leader Hotstar, a division of 21st Century Fox. In 2016, Sony acquired the Ten Sports network from Zee for $385 million. Sony also operates several Indian sports channels in conjunction with ESPN.

Other suitors for Zee mentioned in Indian media reports include Comcast, Amazon, and China’s Tencent and Alibaba.

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