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OSN acquires Pehla network

Dubai, August 26, 2013

OSN, a leading pay-TV network in the Mena region, has expanded its entertainment bouquet with the acquisition of Pehla Media and Entertainment, the region’s largest provider of South Asian pay television content.

The acquisition brings nearly 40 popular South Asian channels in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam languages to OSN’s existing comprehensive portfolio of channels.

The network now showcases nearly 140 TV channels with the widest spectrum of Arabic, Western, South Asian and Filipino television entertainment.

Pehla will now be known as OSN Pehla, functioning as a unit of OSN that is dedicated to South Asian content delivery.

David Butorac, chief executive officer of OSN, said: “We are marking an exciting new chapter in OSN’s history with the integration of Pehla into our network. This acquisition builds on OSN’s growth strategy to explore opportunities for market consolidation bringing greater economies of scale and operational efficiencies to offer great value entertainment for subscribers.”

“Appealing to millions of South Asian expatriates, OSN Pehla now gives us the opportunity to reach out to one of the largest demographics in Mena, serving as the ultimate entertainment destination for all segments of the region’s population,” he added.

Following the acquisition, Pehla subscribers will continue to enjoy an uninterrupted television experience and will soon receive free access to OSN Play, the region’s first online TV viewing platform and can participate in OSN’s rewards programme, OSN Privileges, offering a spectacular range of special prizes and deals from leading retailers and lifestyle partners.

Reuters adds: Butorac said the deal was part-funded by internal cash reserves and partly by debt, but did not provide further details.

According to a presentation on the website of OSN's majority owner Kuwait Projects Co (Kipco), 85 percent of the 63 million households in Mena have a television, although only 2 million subscribe to pay-TV services.
 
OSN had 734,000 subscribers at 2012-end, of which 29 percent were in the United Arab Emirates, 24 percent in Saudi Arabia and 14 percent in Qatar.
 
In June, Kipco - Kuwait's largest investment company by assets - said it had hired financial advisory firm Rothschild to advise on a potential initial public offering (IPO) for OSN.
 
"As it stands today there are no current plans for an IPO, we are assessing strategic options for the future and when that assessment is completed our shareholders will take consideration of those issues," said Butorac.
 
Kipco owns 60.5 percent of OSN, with the remainder held by Saudi Arabia-based partner Mawarid Group.  - TradeArabia News Service



Tags: Mena | TV | acquisition | Network | Pehla | OSN |

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