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.
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