Sony spreads wings; to buy Eenadu TV for $500 million

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Mumbai, Jul 18: In a further effort to spread its base across South India, Sony has decided to buy Hyderabad-based Eenadu TV for a whopping $500-600 million (Rs 2,250-2,400 crore). Making it the biggest media deal in recent times, Multi-Screen Media (MSM) that runs the Sony Network will buy the Andhra Pradesh media baron, Ramoji Rao owned Eenadu bouquet of 11 regional channels.

Though a formal announcement has not been made yet, the discussions are understood to be in the final stages. The deal will give Sony the much needed platform to increase its base in South India taking on arch rivals Star and Zee. Eenadu also has a wide viewership base among the Indian diaspora in the US through channels like ETV Telugu, ETV Bangla and ETV Gujarati.

Eenadu enjoys a formidable presence in most big-scale businesses in the state including the largest-selling Telugu newspaper, Eenadu; the food and beverages company Priya Foods and the ETV Network. The most-popular Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, that is an all-encompassing film studio spanning 1600-acres complete with film sets and equipment is a major enterprise of the Ushodaya Enterprises.

The fact that JM Financial, led by Nimesh Kampani want to pull away from his heavy investment from Ushodaya Enterprises is also considered to be one of the reasons for the buy out by Sony. With the media conglomerate reporting profits of Rs 13.2 crore after taxes on an income of Rs 1,062 crore, Ushodaya seem to be in extremely good proposition for anyone who wants to buy the enterprise.

The popular Telugu newspaper Eenadu's popular rival is the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy owned Sakshi newspaper. Sources have however claimed that another 24-hour Telugu news channel ETV2 will not be sold to Sony. In an all-out effort to get an upper hand in the market share, Sony had earlier bought Sri Adhikari Brothers (SAB) TV to pose as a second-line general entertainment channel to compete with STAR One.

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