Sony Pictures to buy sports channels from India's Zee for $385 million

A logo is pictured outside Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California December 19, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd ZEE.NS said on Wednesday it has agreed to sell its sports broadcasting business to Sony Pictures Networks for $385 million, as it rejigs its media content delivery businesses.

TEN Sports holds broadcast rights to major cricket boards in South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies. It also holds rights for football’s UEFA Champions League, Europa League, French League and English Football Cup among other sports.

“The acquisition of TEN Sports Network will strengthen (Sony Picture Networks’) offering for viewers of cricket, football and fight sports, complementing our existing portfolio of international and domestic sporting properties,” N.P. Singh, chief executive of Sony Pictures Networks India, said in a statement.

Sony, which holds broadcast rights for the cash-rich Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament, has also won the rights for the FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018.

Analysts have said that Zee Entertainment, which lacked a sizable presence in the sports category, will see a jump in earnings in the next two fiscal years as it sells off the money-losing venture.

Zee’s sports broadcasting business had revenues of 6.31 billion rupees ($94.21 million) and a loss of 372 million rupees for fiscal year 2016, according to a company statement.

Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Sunil Nair