Sony Group Corp.’s Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. agreed to merge ZEEL with and into SPNI and combine their linear networks, digital assets, production operations, and program libraries.
They will take the new combined company public in India. SPE will indirectly hold a majority of 50.86 percent of the combined company, the promoters (founders) of ZEEL will have 3.99 percent, and the other ZEEL shareholders will hold a 45.15 percent stake.
SPNI will have a cash balance of $1.5 billion, including through infusion by the current shareholders of SPNI and the promoters (founders) of ZEEL.
SPNI is an indirect subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. Punit Goenka will lead the combined company as its CEO.
Sony Group will nominate the majority of the board of the combined company.
The combination of ZEEL and SPNI will likely achieve business synergies, given their relative strengths in scripted, factual, and sports programming, respective distribution footprints across India, and iconic entertainment brands.
The combined company should be well-positioned to meet the growing consumer demand for premium content across entertainment touchpoints and platforms.
The promoters (founders) of ZEEL have agreed to limit the equity they may own in the combined company to 20 percent.
By Anusuya Lahiri
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