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Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises have agreed to a merger that would create India’s second-largest entertainment network by revenue and create a regional content giant covering film, TV and streaming.
The two companies sealed their union, first detailed Sept. 21, on Wednesday after signing definitive merger documents. The deal sees Sony Pictures Entertainment, the parent company of SPNI, hold a majority stake in the merged company, which will be publicly listed in India.
The deal creates a company that oversees 75 linear TV channels, two well-established streaming services (SonyLIV and Zee5), two major film studios, a digital content studio (Studio NXT) and a combined program library with several thousand films and series.
Zee CEO Punit Goenka will lead the company with SPNI MD and CEO N.P. Singh joining the board. Singh is moving up SPE’s corporate ladder, taking on the chairmanship of Sony Picture India and reporting to SPE’s global television studios head Ravi Ahuja, who took on the role in March.
The combined company’s board of directors would include directors nominated by SPE, with the group having the right to nominate the majority of the board members.
SPE will inject capital into SPNI, approximately $1.575 billion, as part of the growth plan for the merged company that includes building out its digital platforms and bidding for sports rights.
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