India’s Eros in talks with Apple, Amazon and Netflix for library sale

FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is pictured on a television remote in this illustration photograph taken in Encinitas, California, U.S., on January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Indian movie production house Eros 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 Eros library includes blockbusters from the Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood, such as ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘Dabangg’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’. Eros 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 Reuters on Monday, confirming a report in India’s Economic Times that said a deal could be worth around $1 billion.

Eros could not be reached for comment, while Apple 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.

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

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

The Eros 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.

Apple 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 Eros 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.

Eros International Plc owns a majority stake in Eros 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 Eros said in a statement it was “not privy to any strategic discussion” its parent might be having.

The Economic Times report said Eros 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.

Also Read:

India: Bollywood filmmaker Eros wins debt reprieve after failed deal

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.