Sony subsidiary in merger talks with Indian entertainment giant ZEEL
TOKYO, NNA - Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd., Sony Group Corp.'s Indian operator of multiple TV channels, has entered into talks toward a possible merger with local media conglomerate Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
Sony Group said SPNI and ZEEL have agreed on a nonbinding term sheet giving them an exclusive negotiation period of 90 days to reach a definitive, binding deal, which would see Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., the parent of SPNI, infuse approximately $1,575 million.
The investment plan is designed to "enhance the combined company's digital platforms across technology and content, ability to bid for broadcasting rights in the fast-growing sports landscape and pursue other growth opportunities," Sony Group said.
Sony Pictures Entertainment would hold a controlling stake in the merged company, which will be publicly listed in India and is expected to lead the Indian media's transition from conventional pay television services to digital networks.
ZEEL's current CEO, Punit Goenka, will likely remain in the top post, while Sony Group is expected to have the right to nominate a majority of the new firm's board members.
SPNI has several channels in India including Sony Entertainment Television, one of the country's leading Hindi entertainment channels. Its services reach over 700 million viewers in India and are available in 167 countries, according to Sony Group. (NNA/Kyodo)