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Zee can bid for IPL media rights on its own

As the Zee-Sony merger is yet to be completed, Zee CEO and MD, Punit Goenka, told analysts that Zee has the ability to participate in the auctions and place bids on their own. “On our ability to participate in the IPL tender, on our own, fully we can participate on our own. We have a very healthy balance sheet with zero debt and certainly we have the qualifications to participate in the tender,” said Goenka.

Goenka further added that the splitting of IPL media rights into four categories does not prevent the company from either bidding for a part of the rights or for all of them.

While Goenka pointed out that the company has zero debt on its balance sheet, when asked whether Zee will take up temporary debt to bid for IPL media rights, Goenka chose not to comment. “It’s very premature for me to comment on how we’ll fund it and all those things. You should know that we don’t have to pay any money or not a large sum of money upfront. It’s only when the rights start you have to pay for them, until then are only instruments like bank guarantee.”

Ahead of the much-anticipated auctions for the premier cricket league, media majors such as Disney-Star, Sony, Viacom18-Bodhi Tree, Amazon, Apple, Google, Dream11, Sky Sports UK, SuperSport SA and Times Internet, have all picked up the requisite ITT (invitation to tender) documents needed to participate. The last date for submitting bids is June 12.

Reliance-led Viacom, Disney-Star and Amazon are likely to be the top bidders for the premier sports property. Digital giants are likely to focus on bidding for IPL digital rights; meanwhile, broadcasters such as Disney Star, Viacom18 and Zee-Sony will focus on both.

According to analysts tracking the matter, bidding war on the digital side is likely to drive up the selling price; overall, analysts predict that media rights will be sold 20-25 per cent above the ₹3,300-crore base price.

According to ITT documents, IPL media rights are split into four categories, digital rights, linear rights, special rights for certain matches and rest of the world rights. The Hindu BusinessLine

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