Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited (SPNI) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) on Wednesday, December 22 announced that they have signed definitive agreements to merge ZEEL with SPNI and combine their linear networks, digital assets, production operations and program libraries. After closing, the new combined company will be publicly listed in India. The closing of the transaction is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including regulatory, shareholder, and third-party approvals.
After the closing, SPE will indirectly hold a majority 50.86% of the combined company, the promoters (founders) of ZEEL will hold 3.99%, and the other ZEEL shareholders will hold a 45.15% stake. The combined company aims to drive sharper content creation across platforms, strengthen its footprint in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem, bid for media rights in the fast-growing sports landscape and pursue other growth opportunities.
Punit Goenka will lead the combined company as its Managing Director & CEO. The majority of the board of directors of the combined company will be nominated by the Sony Group and will include the current SPNI Managing Director and CEO, N P Singh.
â€śThe combination of ZEEL and SPNI is expected to achieve business synergies and 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 seamless blend of rich expertise in content creation, deep consumer insights and success across entertainment genres is expected to drive the combined companyâ€™s ability to accrue higher shareholder value,â€ť the companies said in a statement.
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. said, â€śIt is a significant milestone for all of us, as two leading media & entertainment companies join hands to drive the next era of entertainment filled with immense opportunities. The combined company will create a comprehensive entertainment business, enabling us to serve our consumers with wider content choices across platforms. This merger presents a significant opportunity to jointly take the businesses to the next level and drive substantial growth in the global arena.