NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday gave its nod to the merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) with Culver Max Entertainment (CME), previously known as Sony Pictures, with “certain modifications”.
Besides this, Bangla Entertainment, which is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation Group, will also be merged into Culver Max Entertainment, along with Zee Entertainment. “The proposed combination relates to amalgamation of each of ZEE and BEPL with and into CME; and preferential allotment of certain shares by CME to Sunbright International Holdings Limited (earlier known as Essel Holdings Limited), and Sunbright Mauritius Investments Limited,” CCI said in a statement.
The Commission approved the proposed combination subject to the carrying out of modifications proposed by the parties. According to the CCI order, both the parties have agreed to modify the deal so that the proposed transaction will not cause any appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.
The CCI gave its approval after more than a month when media reports surfaced about its concerns over the proposed merger. In its initial assessment, CCI had apprehensions that the anti-trust amalgamation would hurt competition.
As per reports, CCI had flagged its concerns over the humongous market position the merged entity would have with regard to advertising and channel pricing, particularly in the popular Hindi language segment.
ZEEL, in September 2021, had announced its pact with Sony Pictures to bring together their 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 had stated last year.
Deal is subject to modifications
CCI approved the proposed combination subject to carrying out of modifications proposed by the parties. As per the CCI order, both the parties have agreed to modify the deal so that the proposed transaction will not cause any adverse effect on competition in India