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Sony, Zee Offer Concessions To India Regulator Over Merger

 |  September 12, 2022

A unit of Sony Group and India’s Zee Entertainment have proposed offering concessions such as pricing discounts to help ease concerns of the country’s antitrust regulator over their merger, which will create a $10-billion TV behemoth, two sources told Reuters.

The concessions are a bid to iron out antitrust worries of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which in an Aug. 3 notice warned the companies of further scrutiny, saying their “humongous market position” would allow them to enjoy “un-paralleled bargaining power” with 92 channels in India’s massive media and entertainment market.

In particular, the CCI was concerned over how big an impact on competition the merged entity would have in terms of advertising and channel pricing, particularly in the popular Hindi language segment. Legal experts and former CCI officials said such scrutiny was set to delay the deal approval process.

Last week, Sony-Zee submitted “voluntary remedies” to the deal in writing to assuage the watchdog’s concerns, though that did not include structural changes such as the sale of certain channels to reduce the threat of competition, said the two sources, who declined to be named due to confidentiality concerns.

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