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Zee, Sony unit merger approved by India's competition regulator

FILE PHOTO: Illstration shows Zee Entertainment and SONY logos

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India's competition regulator on Tuesday approved a merger between the Indian unit of Japan's Sony and Zee Entertainment Enterprises that will create a $10-billion TV behemoth, but with certain conditions.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) did not elaborate on the conditions. Sony said it would wait for remaining regulatory approvals to launch the merged company, while Zee said the CCI had granted the approval after evaluating the legal and economic submissions made by the company.

"The company has offered the necessary remedies in accordance with the regulator's guidelines," Zee said in a statement.

Zee and Sony had offered concessions such as pricing discounts to help ease the concerns of the regulator over their merger, sources told Reuters last month.

The regulator had in August warned of further scrutiny of the deal, saying the combined company's "humongous market position" would allow it to enjoy "un-paralleled bargaining power" with 92 channels in India's massive media and entertainment market.

Sony and Zee decided to merge their television channels, film assets and streaming platforms in December last year to create a powerhouse in a key growth market of 1.4 billion people, to take on the likes of Netflix and Disney in India.

(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in New Delhi and Nishit Navin in Bengaluru; Editing by Louise Heavens, Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)