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Punit Goenka acquires Maverick Media to build single-screen theatres

Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), has acquired a majority stake in entertainment company Maverick Media, he said in a statement on Monday.

Goenka made the investment in his personal capacity, with no bearing on Zee, the statement said. Maverick Media will build single-screen cinemas across the country, especially in under-screened markets of tier-II and tier-III cities.

Goenka’s team did not respond to emailed queries seeking details of the investment and targeted markets.

The move comes at a time when films, including big productions, are struggling to pull crowds to cinema halls, forcing small screens to shut shops. Around 1,500-2,000 single screens had gone out of business during the covid-19 pandemic, according to trade experts.

“While my professional commitments continue to remain a priority, I believe that as key members of the fraternity, it is our collective responsibility to enhance the growth opportunities for all segments in the media value chain, and hence I have taken this decision in my personal capacity,” Goenka said in the statement.

He added that the potential of single-screen cinemas is immense, and it is imperative to revive this infrastructure. “I am confident in the ability of the team at Maverick to achieve its vision and grow the single-screen cinema business. I truly hope this step enables an economically viable opportunity for cinema exhibition operators across key growth markets in the country.”

Goenka’s family owns a 4% stake in ZEEL, which was founded by his father Subhash Chandra. The entertainment conglomerate has been on a cost-cutting spree since its merger with Sony Pictures Entertainment fell through in January.It has decided to reduce the overall headcount by 15% and cut Goenka’s remuneration by 20%.

The company has also seen a series of senior-level exits, including of CHRO Animesh Kumar; CFO Rohit Gupta; Rahul Johri, president of business; Punit Misra, president of content and international markets; Nitin Mittal, president and group chief technology officer; and Shariq Patel, chief business officer, Zee Studio. LiveMint

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