Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) on September 22 announced a merger to combine both companies’ linear networks, digital assets, production operations, and program libraries.
Post the merger, the combined entity will operate a network of 75 channels with SPNI operating 26 channels after it added two new channels in the sports genre and Zee’s 49 channels, making it the largest entertainment network in India with a 26 percent viewership share.
Read | Zee-Sony merger to create largest entertainment network in India with 26% viewership share
Interestingly, during Zee’s 39th annual general meeting (AGM) on September 14, a shareholder had suggested that CEO Punit Goenka bring a show similar to the fan-favorite Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah on Zee.
Goenka smiled it off knowing that the Sony Sab will soon be a part of the Zee-Sony entity.
Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah first aired on Sony Sab in July 2008 and has been on air since then.
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The show revolves around a society named Gokuldham, where families of all faiths stay together and solve their day-to-day problems as a unit but with a twist of humour.
The sitcom, produced by Neela Film Productions Private Limited, stars an ensemble cast including Dilip Joshi, Shailesh Lodha and Munmun Dutta.
Meanwhile, as part of the merger, Sony Pictures Entertainment will invest growth capital so that SPNI has a cash balance of approximately $1.575 billion.
Also read | Merger with ZEE in line with company’s vision: Sony Pictures CEO tells employees
According to ZEEL, with the proposed infusion of growth capital into SPNI, the resultant merger ratio is expected to result in 47.07 percent of the merged entity to be held by ZEEL shareholders and the balance 52.93 percent of the merged entity to be held by SPNI shareholders, it said.
It also added that Zee Entertainment Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Punit Goenka, who is facing pressure from the two largest shareholders of the company – Invesco and OFI Global China Fund LLC – to quit the post, would continue to lead the merged entity.
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