Sony-Viacom18 merger deal by mid-August: Report

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The merger of Sony Pictures Network and Viacom18 Media is likely to be formally announced by mid-August, according to a Livemint report that stated that three people familiar with the development had shared it.

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The merger talks had surfaced again last week back with Business Standard claiming that the merger was in final stages with the announcement likely to drop in soon. Livemint has now given a timeline on the announcement of the deal stating that it is likely to be announced within weeks.

Livemint states that the merger will work together only by the end of 2021. The deal which will give Sony Pictures Network (SPN) a majority stake in the merged entity is aimed at providing Reliance with control over Entertainment ecosystem and keep a foot in the content pipeline for DEN Network, Hathway, and JioFiber.

The merger will create a giant of 58 channels with 34 channels from Viacom18 and 24 channels from the stable of Sony Pictures Network India. Viacom18 has a strong presence in regional markets and kids genre compared to Sony which is inferior. The proposed merger would make it a three cornered fight between Star and Disney India, Zee Entertainment, and Sony-Viacom18 across India.

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