The proposed merged entity will be led by current Zee CEO Punit Goenka.
Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) have entered into an exclusive, non-binding Term Sheet to combine both companies’ linear networks, digital assets, production operations and programme libraries.
The non-binding Term Sheet provides an exclusive negotiation period of 90 days during which ZEEL and SPNI will conduct mutual diligence and negotiate definitive, binding agreements. The combined company will be a publicly listed company in India and be better positioned to lead the consumer transition from traditional pay-TV into the digital future.
The merger of ZEEL and SPNI will bring together two Indian media network businesses, benefitting consumers throughout India across content genres, from film to sports. The combined company is expected to benefit all stakeholders given strong synergies between ZEEL and SPNI.
Under the terms of the non-binding Term Sheet, Sony Pictures Entertainment will inject capital into SPNI, approximately $1.575bn, as part of the growth plan for the new entity that includes building out its digital platforms and bidding for sports rights.
The proposed merged entity will be led by current Zee CEO Punit Goenka. Sony Pictures Entertainment, the parent company of SPNI, will hold a majority stake in the combined company.
The move follows years of corporate turbulence at both companies and comes at a time when the massive Indian television landscape is being transformed by vastly wider access to broadband internet and the incursion of streaming video services.
In a statement, Sony Pictures Networks India said: “The merger of ZEEL and SPNI would bring together two leading Indian media network businesses, benefiting consumers throughout India across content genres, from film to sports. The combined company is expected to benefit all stakeholders given strong synergies between ZEEL and SPNI.”