On Wednesday this week, the Rs 5,900-crore Sony Pictures Networks India and the Rs 7,730-crore Zee Entertainment Enterprises announced that they have entered into an exclusive, non-binding agreement to merge through a share-swap deal. Punit Goenka, managing director and CEO, Zee Entertainment will lead it.
This merger will create India’s second-largest entertainment network by revenue and spawn an entity with 75 TV channels, two video streaming services (ZEE5 and Sony LIV), two film studios (Zee Studios and Sony Pictures Films India) and a digital content studio (Studio NXT). This deal will be the largest such transaction in the Indian media and entertainment space. The ZEE Board concluded that the “merger will be in the best interest of all the shareholders and stakeholders and it is in line with ZEEL’s strategy of achieving higher growth and profitability as a leading Media & Entertainment Company across South Asia.”
Zee has a hold over a fifth of TV viewership in India, a movie and OTT business. Zee has a strong presence across Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and other Indian languages and also has a global footprint. But it lacks sports and kids programming that Sony has. Both of them have a strong film business and OTT platforms. SonyLiv had a breakthrough 2020 with Scam1992.
As per the deal the majority of the Board of Directors of the merged entity will be nominated by Sony Group.