Media conglomerates Sony and Zee have voluntarily agreed to sell three Hindi channels – Big Magic, Zee Action and Zee Classic – to address potential anti-competitive concerns arising out of their proposed mega-merger deal .
He submitted his proposal to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which approved the deal on 4 October, subject to certain modifications.
More than three weeks after giving its approval for the transaction, the regulator made its detailed 58-page order public on Wednesday.
As per the order, both the groups have agreed to sell Big Magic, a Hindi general entertainment channel, as well as Zee Action and Zee Classic, which are Hindi film channels.
They voluntarily agreed to amend the proposed deal after CCI’s prima facie opinion that the deal is likely to have a significant adverse effect on competition.
Transactions above a certain limit mandatorily require the approval of the CCI, which seeks to ensure fair competition in the market.
On October 4, CCI said it has approved the proposed Zee-Sony merger deal, which was announced in September last year.
In order to ensure fair competition in the respective markets, the regulator has also mandated various requirements to be fulfilled by the respective buyer before buying the three channels.
One of the conditions is that the buyer should not be “Star India Pvt Ltd or Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd (including their respective affiliates)”.
The purchaser must be independent and not have any association with the resulting entity and its affiliates. Also, it should not be either a former or current employee or director (or the spouse or child of such employee or director), as per the order.
Among other conditions, Buyer must have the financial resources, expertise and incentives to maintain and develop the disinvestment business as a viable and active competitor to the parties and/or the resulting entity in the relevant market.
Buyer is “neither likely to create any prima facie competition concern, nor give rise to a risk that the implementation of the Order will be delayed, and in particular, obtain all necessary approvals from the relevant regulatory authorities as appropriate.” should be expected to undertake acquisition and conduct of the disinvestment business,” the order said.
Disinvestment business refers to three channels of sales.
The CCI also noted that if the parties fail to comply with the voluntary amendments submitted, the proposed combination will be deemed to cause a significant adverse effect on competition in India.
On 4 October, CCI said it has “approved the merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEL) and Bangla Entertainment Private Limited (BEPL) with Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited (CME) with certain modifications”.
CME was formerly known as Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited (SPNI).
In September 2021 ZEEL said it has entered into a non-binding term sheet with SPNI to bring together their linear network, digital assets, production operations and program library.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)