Hyderabad : Star India, a unit of 21st Century Fox, has acquired the entire broadcast business of Maa Television Network Limited , which has four Telugu entertainment channels, for an undisclosed amount.
Sources close to the parties involved in the deal said that the deal size could be around Rs 2,000 crore. the promoters of Maa TV were estimated to have invested over Rs 130 crore so far in the network.
Maa TV, which commenced its operations in 2002, was taken over by Nimmagadda Prasad, an entrepreneur who had earlier sold Matrix Labs to Mylan, and his associates in 2007.
The acquisition gives Star access to about Rs 2,000-crore Telugu television market, the second largest regional market in India in terms of revenue potential. Star did not have a Telugu channel under its fold, ever since the winding up of its failed initiative ”Star Sitara” which was launched in association with Asianet group. However the channel failed perform and ultimately winded up in 2010.
Maa TV network’s four channels are Maa Gold, Maa Music, Maa Cinema and Maa general entertainment. Last year, according to the company chairman Nimmagadda Prasad, Maa broadcast network stood 16 in all India ranking and number one in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with a 27 per cent market share.
“The acquisition fills a vital gap in our portfolio allowing our advertisers targeted access to a critical market”, Star India chief executive officer, Uday Shankar, told media persons here on Wednesday.
The deal will come into effect upon complying with necessary regulatory formalities and the broadcast of Maa TV, including all its assets, will be integrated with the business of Star India.
However, the company, Maa TV Network Ltd, will remain with its promoters- Prasad, actor-turned-politician, Chiranjeevi and his close relatives and actor, Akkineni Nagarjuna. While Prasad has 65 per cent share holding in the company, Chiranjeevi has 20 per cent, Nagarjuna 10 per cent and the remaining 5 per cent is held by retail investors.
“They (the promoters) did not want to part with the company. Therefore, we will take over only the broadcast business. Maa brand and other assets will also come to Star”, Shankar said.
“The strategic decision to align with Star India and be part of a global media group will be a big leap in our efforts to take Maa TV Network to the next level and strengthen the positioning of Maa brand in the entertainment industry”, Prasad said.
Explaining the reasons for hiving off Maa TV after turning it into a profitable entity over a period of 6-7 years, Prasad said, “we don’t want to be unrealistic. When the time comes, it has to be handed over to a bigger, better entity”.
Shankar said that Star would not only retain the Maa TV brand but also its 500-odd employees. Besides it would invest more on development of talent and content. “The Telugu market is an