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Apple In Talks to Buy India’s Eros, But Not For $1 Billion: Sources

Apple has held preliminary talks to buy the Indian production house Eros Group, but it's unlikely to fetch the $1 billion price tag reported by The Economic Times earlier this week, according to a…

Apple has held preliminary talks to buy the Indian production house Eros Group, but it’s unlikely to fetch the $1 billion price tag reported by The Economic Times earlier this week, according to a sources familiar with the discussions.

As Apple Music premieres its “Carpool Karaoke” series tonight (Tuesday, August 8) for nearly 30 million subscribers worldwide, the tech giant is exploring bigger content possibilities as it considers acquiring the Indian unit as a way to tap India’s 1.3 billion residents and emerging middle class, the sources tell Billboard.

Eros produces and distributes an extensive library of some 3,000 Bollywood films, and owns a music catalog that includes songs tied to these theatrical releases. The company also operates a wildly popular movie streaming service, Eros Now, considered the Netflix of India. A reported 19 million people signed up for the app before it launched in 2015.

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The discussions are still in the early stages, and could fall apart, one of the sources cautioned. Despite the musical component to Eros’s Bollywood films, Apple’s interest centers on Eros’s video and distribution, and doesn’t indicate a bigger move into music ownership, they said.

Apple completed an iPhone assembly trial in India earlier this year, working with a contract manufacturer, while Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook reportedly met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a business summit in Washington to seek deeper access to the Indian market.

“We’re very optimistic about our future in this remarkable country, with its very large, young, and tech-savvy population, fast-­growing economy, and improving 4G network infrastructure,” Cook said during Apple’s May 2 earnings call.

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Apple has been investing in original content, as it seeks to differentiate its subscription service from rival offerings.

In addition to “Carpool Karaoke,” based on James Corden’s popular Late Late Show segment, Apple’s unscripted show Planet of the Apps, in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas for mobile apps in hopes of securing funding, is in its first season.

Apple and Eros International declined comment.

With additional reporting by Nyay Bhushan