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Viacom18 and Zee Entertainment in early merger talks

Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, the owner of the Colors general entertainment channel, and Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd are in initial talks for a potential merger that could create a large media firm with interests spanning broadcast, OTT, live entertainment and movie production, two people aware of the development said.

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Viacom18 is a joint venture between TV18 Broadcast Ltd (51%) and US-based ViacomCBS Inc. (49%). TV18 is a unit of Network18 Media and Investments Ltd, majority-owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, founded by Essel Group’s Subhash Chandra, is majority-owned by foreign institutional investors, including Investco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund and Ofi Global Fund China LLC. Essel Group’s equity holding is down to 3.9%, although the company continues to be run by Chandra’s son Punit Goenka. Live Mint

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