CCI gives conditional okay to Sony-Zee merger deal
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2 years ago 06:00:08am Television

CCI gives conditional okay to Sony-Zee merger deal

New Delhi, 05-October-2022, By IBW Team

CCI gives conditional okay to Sony-Zee merger deal

Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday gave its conditional approval for the proposed merger between media groups Sony and Zee, a  PTI report said earlier in the day.

The approval has been given after the CCI accepted the voluntary remedies proposed by the parties to allay possible anti-competitive concerns.

Later in the evening, an official statement from CCI reaffirmed the development stating it has approved the amalgamation of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zee) and Bangla Entertainment Private Limited (BEPL) with Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited (formerly known as Sony Pictures Network India), subject to certain modifications.

“The proposed combination relates to (i) amalgamation of each of Zee and BEPL with and into CME (Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited); and (ii) preferential allotment of certain shares by CME to Sunbright International Holdings Limited (earlier known as Essel Holdings Limited), and Sunbright Mauritius Investments Limited.

“The proposed combination is in the nature of an acquisition and amalgamation falls under Section 5(a) and 5(c) of the Competition Act, 2002,” the statement from the anti-trust body explained.

CME, which is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s Sony Group Corporation (SGC), has several general entertainment channels, film, sports and kids’ entertainment channels in India. SonyLIV is the digital entertainment video service. The products of CME reach out to over 700 million viewers in India and are available in 167 countries.

BEPL is also an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of SGC and a part of the SGC Group. The company is broadly engaged in the acquisition of rights for motion pictures, events and other TV content, apart from  generating advertising revenue from the telecast of TV content.

The Commission approved the proposed combination “subject to the carrying out of modifications proposed by the parties” under Regulation 25(1) of the CCI.

The proposed merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) was announced in September last year. Deals beyond a certain threshold require the approval of the CCI.

In a statement Culver Max/Sony Pictures Networks India said: “We are delighted to receive CCI approvals to merge ZEEL into SPN. We will now await remaining regulatory approvals to finally launch the new merged company. The merged company will create extraordinary value for Indian consumers and eventually lead the consumer transition from traditional pay TV into the digital future.”

The Zee-Sony combine will become India’s second-largest entertainment network by revenue with over 75 TV channels, along with two video streaming services — ZEE5 and Sony LIV. It will also house two film studios — ZeeStudios and Sony Pictures Films India, and a digital content studio (Studio NXT).

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