Sony Pictures Networks India is poised to take control of Zee Entertainment.
If the merger goes ahead the combined company would be the leading player in India’s entertainment market with a share close to 40%. The group would include channels ranging from Sony’s leading sports networks through to Zee’s Hindi-language news and entertainment channels.
The Sony line-up includes Indian Idol and a version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. There are also two local streaming services Zee5 and SonyLiv.
Under the proposal Sony would invest $1.6 billion for a 53% stake in the new group. The companies now have 90 days in which to complete the deal.
The agreement comes in the wake of a bid by US investment group and Zee’s largest shareholder Invesco to overhaul the board and oust its chief executive Punit Goenka, the son of founder Subhash Chandra. Under Sony’s proposals, Goenka would keep his post, but Sony would put forward the rest of the board.