Sony Pictures Network is reportedly going to have a 74% stake in the merged entity with Viacom18, according to a report from Business Today that claims that the merger is in final stages with the announcement likely to drop in soon.
The merger talks had initially come to the forefront when Economic Times and Bloomberg had reported the probable coming together of the two big broadcasting companies in India last year. With Sony Pictures Network India’s 24 channels and Viacom18’s 34 channels, the merged entity would create a formidable entity.
Sony is likely to own 74% in the merged entity with the rest 26% in the hands of Viacom18. Reliance Industries share would be around 12% of the 26% Viacom18 will hold. Business Today states that Reliance wants to get rid of its entertainment business and just have a foot in the door to control the pipe and not content creation.
Reliance will continue to own the news channels with the deal only including Viacom’s entertainment business. Network18 has 20+ news channels on air apart from History TV18 and History TV18 HD which is a JV between Network18 and A+E Networks.
The deal is reported to have taken a back seat earlier due to Reliance focusing on its stake sale in Platforms. Whether the announcement comes any time soon or not, remains to be seen.