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Indian watchdog approves Sony-Zee merger

The merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Sony’s Indian unit has been approved by the country’s competition watchdog.

The merger, first announced in December 2021, appeared to be on the rocks last month when the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said that the US$10 billion combined entity would have “unparalleled bargaining power” and launched a further investigation. The pair, which operate around 92 channels, subsequently offered concessions surrounding advertising and channel pricing, particularly in the Hindi language segment.

These concessions appear to have done the trick, with the CCI now granting the approval after evaluating the legal and economic submissions made by the companies.

Celebrating the approval, Zee issued a statement which said: “The approval from the CCI is a yet another positive step in the overall merger approval process. In its order pronounced on 7th September 2022, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had advised the Company to convene and conduct the meeting with its shareholders on 14th October 2022, to seek their approval for the proposed merger.”

Sony Pictures Networks India offered similar sentiments in its own statement which said: “We are delighted to receive CCI approvals to merge ZEEL into SPN. We will now await remaining regulatory approvals to finally launch the new merged company. The merged company will create extraordinary value for Indian consumers and eventually lead the consumer transition from traditional pay TV into the digital future.”

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