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Netflix, Amazon In Talks To Buy Massive Bollywood Film Library

Eros International, the Indian movie production and distribution giant, is in discussions with Apple, Netflix and Amazon to sell the rights to its 3,000-plus film and music library, according to reports.

A deal could be worth as much as $1 billion, according to India’s Economic Times, which first reported the talks. However, the value of its film library is worth less than $1 billion, according to a Reuters report citing an anonymous source who confirmed the talks.

Bollywood blockbusters in the Eros portfolio include Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Dabangg and Bajirao Mastani.

Eros had previously attempted engaged with broadcasters including Sony, 21st Century Fox’s Star India, Viacom and Zee to sell its content library, per Reuters.

In a statement, Mumbai-based Eros International Media Ltd. said, “we are not privy to any strategic discussions that our NYSE-listed parent company Eros International PLC may be having with various potential partners.”

Eros International, as well as Apple, Netflix and Amazon, have declined to comment on the reports. Shares of Eros International shot up more than 16% Monday on the reports of the talks.

A deal with Apple, Netflix or Amazon may include Eros Now, the Indian media company’s digital over-the-top entertainment service, according to the reports. Launched in 2012, the platform has rights to over 5,000 movies in 10 Indian languages and over 250,000 audio tracks from 13 Indian music labels. The platform is accessible via internet-enabled devices and has registered 55 million registered users globally.

Both Netflix and Amazon have launched streaming-video services in India. Last month, Amazon announced a deal with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to stream library and future titles, and premiered Inside Edge on Amazon Prime Video, about the worlds of cricket and entertainment, as the first of 18 Indian original series. Netflix’s Indian original series include Mumbai-set Selection Day, a story of cricket and corruption, and female-led detective series Again; the streaming giant also has struck a long-term relationship with Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan’s production house, Red Chillies Entertainment.

Mumbai-based financial services firm JM Financial is advising Eros in the talks, according to the Economic Times.

For the year ended March 31, 2017, Eros reported revenue of $253 million (down 8% year over year) and net income of $11.5 million (versus $13.3 million in the year-earlier period). In fiscal year 2017, net debt increased to $157.6 million compared with $120.4 million. The company is led by chairman Kishore Lulla.

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