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Bollywood lures Apple, Amazon and Netflix in Eros library sale

Reuters  |  MUMBAI 

By Sankalp Phartiyal and Shilpa Jamkhandikar

(Reuters) - Indian movie production house is in early talks with Apple, Amazon and Netflix to sell its film and music library, a source familiar with the matter said.

Global content streaming companies are jockeying to boost their Indian television, movie and music offerings in the world's fastest growing Internet services market.

The library includes blockbusters from the Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood, such as 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', 'Dabangg' and 'Bajirao Mastani'. has expanded in recent years to add films in other Indian languages and says it now owns a library comprising more than 3,000 Indian films.

Discussions are in very early stages, the source told on Monday, confirming a report in India's Economic Times that said a deal could be worth around $1 billion.

could not be reached for comment, while said it did not comment on "speculation" and Amazon declined to comment on "rumour and speculation". Netflix also declined to comment.

Netflix and Amazon have been working to secure exclusive Indian content for their respective platforms that both launched in the country last year.

began exploring strategic options about six months ago for its Indian content library, a second source told

The source, who also asked not to be named, said had attempted to work out with top domestic broadcasters including Sony, Star, Viacom and Zee.

The library was worth less the $1 billion quoted in the ET report, the source said, adding Apple, which recently began assembling some of its lower-end iPhones in India, was unlikely to splurge on Indian content.

has been vying to boost its share of the price-conscious Indian market, where its iPhones account for only a small sliver of smartphones sold.

EROS' TROUBLES

Eros' New York-listed parent company faces a class action lawsuit for allegedly overstating the subscriber base of its streaming portal Now. Its stock, which peaked at $39 on the NYSE in August 2015, has fallen nearly 80 percent in the last two years and closed at $8.20 on the NYSE on Friday. International Plc owns a majority stake in International Media, its Indian-listed arm, which works largely on content creation. Shares in the Indian entity closed 4.5 percent higher on Monday.

The Indian arm of said in a statement it was "not privy to any strategic discussion" its parent might be having.

The Economic Times report said was planning to embark on a restructuring exercise that was likely to lead to a reverse merger of its New York-listed arm with the Indian subsidiary by the end of this financial year, creating a single listed entity.

JM Financial, which the Economic Times said is advising Eros, did not respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting By Sankalp Phartiyal, Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Rahul Bhatia and Devidutta Tripathy in Mumbai, and Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar/Euan Rocha/Alexander Smith)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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