CCI approves Zee-Sony merger with modifications
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday approved with certain conditions the mega-merger deal between media groups Sony and Zee. In a tweet, the watchdog said it has cleared the deal with certain modifications. The proposed merger was announced in September last year. “Commission approves amalgamation of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE) and Bangla Entertainment Private Limited (BEPL) with Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited (CME), with certain modifications,” said CCI in a Tweet, paving the way to the merger of two big media groups Sony and Zee, headed Subhash Chandra.
The persons close to the development said the approval was given after the regulator accepted the voluntary remedies proposed by the parties. Specific details could not be immediately ascertained. The deal is expected to be an investment of more than 1.6 billion dollars from Sony to Zee. The regulator had issued show cause notices to the parties after it initially concluded that the deal could have an adverse impact on competition, the sources said. Subsequently, the parties proposed voluntary remedies, which have been accepted by the regulator, they added.
Deals beyond certain thresholds require the approval of the CCI, which keeps a tab on unfair business practices and also promotes fair competition in the marketplace. ZEEL, in September 2021, said it has entered into a non-binding term sheet with SPNI to bring together its linear networks, digital assets, production operations, and programme libraries. The combined entity will own over 70 TV channels, 2 video streaming services (ZEE5 and Sony LIV), and two film studios (Zee Studios and Sony Pictures Films India), making it the largest entertainment network in India, ZEEL said in September last year.
CME, earlier known as Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt Ltd (SPNI), Bangla Entertainment Pvt Ltd (BEPL), ZEEL, and Essel Group participants are part of the combination, as per the notice filed with CCI in April 2022. It is well known that Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani were eyeing Subhash Chandra’s Zee Group and the deal was clicked with Sony which was agreeable to the terms and conditions of Subhash Chandra.
 Zee TV’s Subhash Chandra has the last laugh in his merger deal – Mar 24, 2022, PGurus.com
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