The proposed merger of India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) and Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited (formerly Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited) has received approval from the country’s Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange.
“The approval from the stock exchanges marks a firm and positive step in the overall merger approval process,” ZEEL said in a statement. “The approvals permit the company to proceed with the next steps in the overall merger process.”
In April this year, Sony Pictures Networks changed its corporate name to Culver Max Entertainment. The name is used exclusively by the holding company, with Sony Pictures Networks continuing as the consumer facing brand.
In Dec. 2021 the companies signed definitive agreements to merge ZEEL with and into SPNI and combine their linear TV networks, digital assets, production operations and program libraries.
The merged company will retain Zee’s stock market listing in India. But Sony will provide a large cash injection and control a majority share stake of close to 51%.
Zee’s Punit Goenka will lead the combined company as its MD and CEO. The majority of the board of directors will be nominated by the Sony Group and will include the current SPNI MD and CEO, N.P. Singh. After the deal is completed Singh will assume a broader executive position at SPE as chairman, Sony Pictures India (a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment) reporting to Ravi Ahuja, SPE’s chairman of Global Television Studios and SPE corporate development.
The merger remains subject to applicable regulatory and other approvals.