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Sony Pictures Network India, ZEEL Set For Merger: What Are The Benefits?

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at September 22, 2021

Amid calls for removal of managing director and chief executive officer of India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) Puneet Goenka and a few others from the board of directors,  the company has announced a merger with media giant, Sony Pictures.

ZEEL and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) have entered into an exclusive, non-binding term sheet to combine both companies’ linear networks, digital assets, production operations and program libraries.

The likely merger will result in a new company that will see Goenka as the lead. The new company will also have directors nominated by Sony Group in the board of directors. The merged entity will also be a listed company in India.

The new deal will bring major benefits for ZEEL and the company’s stock prices skyrocketing soon after the announcement were proof enough. ZEEL saw a 30.50% jump.

As per the press release, Sony will invest $1.57 billion and will be the majority shareholder with 52.93% controlling stake, after the merger.

The likely merger may also have a major impact on digital entertainment industry in India. ZEEL has a wide reach in the family entertainment sector, especially in regional languages. SNPL, on the other hand, has a good grip on the audience looking for comedy and sports in the country. Industry experts believe the combined OTT offerings for ZEEL and SPNI may become the second largest OTT after Disney+ in India. It is yet to be announced whether the two digital brands of the companies -ZEE5 and SONY LIV will continue as separate brands or not.

Apart from the digital offerings, the networks together offer around 75 TV channels.   

Ever since Disney expanded markets in India with Disney+ Hotstar, SNPL has been looking for a local partnership in the country. ZEE’s local network and reach in the family entertainment sector will benefit SNPL in taking on Disney in India.


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