Apple, Amazon And Netflix Being Lured Into In Eros Library Sale By Bollywood

With the intention to sell its film and music library, Indian movie production house Eros is in early talks with Apple, Amazon and Netflix, reported the local media citing sources that are familiar with the matter.

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

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

Confirming a report in India’s Economic Times that said a deal could be worth around $1 billion, a second source told the media that the discussions are in very early stages.

Amazon declined to comment on “rumor and speculation”, Apple said it did not comment on “speculation” and Eros could not be reached for comment. There were also no comments from Netflix.

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

With respect to its Indian content library, Eros began exploring strategic options about six months ago.

Deals with top domestic broadcasters including Sony, Star, Viacom and Zee have already been attempted to be worked out by Eros, reported the media quoting sources.

Apple, which recently began assembling some of its lower-end iPhones in India, was unlikely to splurge on Indian content, sources said even as media reports said that the Eros library was worth less the $1 billion in India.

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

For allegedly overstating the subscriber base of its streaming portal Eros Now, Eros’ New York-listed parent company faces a class action lawsuit.

There has been a fall of nearly 80 percent in the last two years in the stocks of Eros and closed at $8.20 on the NYSE on Friday, even as the stocks peaked at $39 on the NYSE in August 2015.

Eros International Media, the Indian-listed arm of Eros, which works largely on content creation, has a majority stake belonging to Eros International Plc. Shares in the Indian entity closed 4.5 percent higher on Monday.

It was “not privy to any strategic discussion” its parent might be having, the Indian arm of Eros said in a statement.

By the end of this financial year, a single listed entity would likely to be created by Eros as the company 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, said the Economic Times report.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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