Why the deal between Viacom18 and Sony Pictures Networks India broke off

One of the biggest merger and acquisition deals in the media and entertainment industry has fallen through as negotiations between Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) which owns a majority stake in Viacom18 and Sony Pictures Networks India has come to an end. According to sources, there are three-four key reasons behind the fall of the deal. To begin with, it is believed that Reliance Industries plans to invest aggressively and grow media business.

Further, it is understood that Reliance Industries wants to retain management control over digital operations and invest in creating the country’s number one over-the-top (OTT) service and broadcast platform. Currently, Reliance owns 51% stake in the joint-venture with Viacom18. Had the deal materialised in the original format SPN would have owned a 51% stake in the newly formed entity.

As per sources, entertainment forms an essential part of the company’s strategy on Jio fibre to home plans when it comes to creating partnerships with other companies. Sources reveal that there’s a lot of interest from content firms and production companies — ready to back such partnership. In case of such partnerships – it is believed that investors are also ready to back such deals.

It should be noted that the talks between Reliance Industries Ltd and Sony Pictures Networks Ltd started almost more than a year back. While conversation halted in between, things started to move in July, and in the middle of August, the three parties– Network18, Viacom Inc and Sony Pictures Networks India had agreed for a merger with the latter owning a majority stake. Financial Express

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