The Punit Goenka-led Zee Entertainment
Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) has entered a definitive agreement to acquire 9X Media
and its subsidiaries from Rivendell PE LLC (earlier known as New Silk Route) and the other shareholders through an all-cash transaction amounting to Rs 160 crore.
With this, ZEEL
strengthens its music portfolio significantly. Currently, the network has Zing, which is a music channel
targeted to cater to the requirements of a young audience. Originally launched as Music Asia in 1997, the channel was subsequently re-launched as Zee Music in 2000. In 2009, however, it underwent another name change and became Zing. In 2014, ZEEL
re-positioned it from a music channel
to a youth-and-music channel- a positioning that it retains till date.
Currently, the 9X Media
operates five music channels- 9XM
(Hindi), 9X Jalwa
(Hindi), 9X Jhakkas (Marathi), 9XO
(English) and 9X Bajao (Hindi). The acquisition also includes INX Music- a subsidiary of 9XM
engaged in the business of broadcasting a Punjabi music channel
9X Tashan. 9XM
owned a majority stake of 70.85 per cent in INX Media.
Besides significantly expanding its Hindi music portfolio, the acquisition gives ZEEL
access to the regional music genre. It also increases its regional footprint with its foray into the Punjabi market.
9X Media's Bollywood news
portal, SpotboyE, will also be a part of the transaction.
Goenka, MD and CEO, ZEEL
said: "Continuing with our strategy of expanding into regional markets and niche genres, we are pleased to announce this acquisition which strengthens our music portfolio. Music is an integral component of consumer's entertainment pie and we will offer our consumers a wider array of choices through these channels. 9X channels enjoy leading market shares in their respective segments and will benefit immensely from our network's strength to achieve higher growth potential and cost synergies. I am confident that these channels will make our entertainment bouquet even more compelling for the audience."
9X Media, previously known as INX Media, was founded in 2007 by Indrani Mukerjea and housed the Hindi general entertainment channel 9X as well. In 2010, ZEEL
bought the said Hindi GEC for Rs 64 crore. The same year, the company changed its name to 9X Media
and focused its energies on growing its music portfolio.
9X Media's consolidated revenue for FY17 stood at Rs 158.6 crore and it posted an EBITDA loss of Rs 5 crore.
In addition to acquiring 9X, ZEEL
also bought Turner's 26 per cent in the distribution joint venture between the companies
at par value of Rs 2.6 lakh.