Sony to Merge With Viacom 18 to Challenge Disney+ Hotstar Lead

While the world is fighting a pandemic, various new opportunities are also taking shape in the entertainment and technology industry. Recently, Sony Picture Network and Viacom18, a joint venture with Reliance Industries-owned Network 18 and ViacomCBS, are looking at a merger to take on Disney+ Hotstar and other digital entertainment platforms in India. The two companies are said to be in the final stages of the talks.

Network18 owns a 51% stake in Viacom 18, while Viacom holds the remaining 49%. Sony will own a 74% stake in the merged entity, while Viacom18 will hold the remaining 26% once the deal is processed.

The news of the merger comes a year after Disney and Star India signed a merger for $71.3 Billion, under which Disney+ became part of Hotstar. The company then launched the Disney+ Hotstar as premium.

Sony and Viacom 18 have a stronghold in the television industry. While some people see this merger as a competition, it might as well just be a step towards expanding the entertainment horizons. The Hindi entertainment industry is a massive part of Viacom 18’s revenue.

Reportedly, Raj Nayak, former Chief Operating Officer, Viacom 18 tweeted: “Interesting: Sony to own 74 percent after the merger with Viacom 18; ready for a duel with Disney Star.”

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