Sony-Zee Merger to Bid for Indian Premier League Rights

    • Sony India announced last week it plans to take a 53% stake in Zee Entertainment.
    • The combined company is reportedly bidding for Indian Premier League rights.

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Sony’s Indian entertainment group agreed to take a 53% stake in rival Zee Entertainment last week, investing $1.6 billion in the company. The deal has yet to close, but the combined company is reportedly already bidding for Indian Premier League media rights.

Star India bought the league’s rights for $2.6 billion in a five-year deal in 2017. This year, the price is estimated to grow another 25% for rights from 2023-2027.

Facebook, Amazon, Reliance, and Disney — which bought Star for $71 billion in 2019 — are all potential bidders. The Sony-Zee merger would also be a top contender as it stands to become the largest media group in India with control of 27% of the country’s media market, according to Edelweiss.

  • Before Star outbid them in 2017, Sony held Indian Premier League rights for 10 years.
  • In 2016, Sony purchased Ten Sports from Zee in a $385 million deal. Ten held rights to WWE, the UEFA Champions League, and major tennis and golf events.

Vikas Somani, head of mergers and acquisitions at Zee, made it clear that the combined company would be looking for more sports rights. He told Financial Times that “sports is one area which shall be looked upon keenly.” 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India plans to release the IPL’s media rights tender for the 2023-27 cycle in late October.