Confirmed! Sony Merges With Zee To Create India’s 2nd Biggest Entertainment Network With 75 Channels
Reportedly, the Board of directors of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) approved the merger with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) on December 22.
Sony and Zee Merger
With the deal happening, Sony will hold 50.86 percent stake in the merged entity, according to the Board.
On the other hand, the promoters of ZEEL will hold 3.99 percent.
The rest of the ZEEL shareholders will hold a 45.15 percent stake in the merged entity.
The Board clarified, “The Company is inter-alia engaged in TV content development, broadcasting of regional and international entertainment satellite television channels, movies, music and digital business. The Company is India’s one of the largest entertainment networks.”
How Does This Help?
Sony will have a cash balance of $1.5 billion to enable the combined company to drive sharper content creation across platforms, according to the terms of the definitive agreements signed to merge ZEEL with and into SPNI.
This would help in strengthening its footprint in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem, bid for media rights in the fast-growing sports landscape and pursue other growth opportunities.
According to Zee, SPNI has agreed to the appointment of Punit Goenka as MD and CEO of the merged entity at the time of announcing the merger and it was an integral part of the deal.
Further, most of the board of directors of the combined company will be nominated by the Sony Group.
They will include the current SPNI Managing Director and CEO, N.P. Singh.
Soon, Singh will be assuming a broader executive position at SPE (Sony Pictures Entertainment) as Chairman, Sony Pictures India (a division of SPE) .
He will be reporting to Ravi Ahuja, SPE’s Chairman of Global Television Studios and SPE Corporate Development.
Merger Is Significant
Analysts say that the merger is significant as the coming together of Zee and Sony will bring tremendous synergies between the two companies.
It will exponentially grow the business and the sector.
They had also noted that the merger will create the largest entertainment network in India with a 26 percent viewership share.
This Zee-Sony merger will command a share of 51 percent as of Q1FY22 data in the Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) segment.
This is basically the top genre on TV in terms of viewership.
The Zee-Sony entity will have a viewership share of 63 percent
In Hindi movies, which is again the top-performing genre.