Sony Corp exploring stake acquisition in Mukesh Ambani’s Network18

MUMBAI: Japan’s Sony Corporation, which has a significant presence in the media & entertainment sector, is in talks to acquire a stake in Network18 controlled by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

According to a ‘Bloomberg’ report, the company is currently conducting due diligence of Ambani’s Network18 Media And Investments before any possible offer.

The report further stated that Sony is considering several potential deal structures, including a bid for the company or a merger of its own Indian business with Network18’s entertainment channels, one of the people said.

However, the report added that talks are at a preliminary stage and may not result in a transaction. “Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis,” a spokesman for Ambani’s Reliance Industries said in an email.

For Sony, India is a significant M&E market. It operates in the country through Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), which owns and operates 29 channels across genres like Hindi entertainment, sports, and kids.

This is not the first time that Sony is looking to acquire a stake in a major M&E company. Earlier, it was in talks with ZEEL promoters to acquire a stake. Before Network18 acquired ETV Network, Sony was in the race to acquire the entertainment business of the Hyderabad-based company.

Sony had made a signification acquisition in 2015 by acquiring the sports business of ZEEL for an aggregate amount of $370 million. The acquisition of Taj Television strengthened Sony’s sports portfolio to take on rival Star India.

Network18 Group is a media and entertainment group with interests in broadcasting, digital, movies, e-commerce, magazines, mobile content and allied businesses. TV18 Broadcast Limited is the broadcasting arm of Network18. The group has a bouquet of 68+ channels including 17+ HD channels spanning across various genres including General Entertainment, Kids, News, Music, Infotainment, Movies etc. in India.

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