Grapevine: SoftBank stake in SB Energy eyed; Sony Pictures Networks-Viacom18 merger likely
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Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, private equity fund Actis and Brookfield Asset Management have submitted bids to buy SoftBank Group Corp’s stake in SB Energy Holding, two people aware of the development told Mint.

SB Energy, an 80:20 joint venture between SoftBank and Bharti Enterprises, has a 7.7 gigawatts (GW) solar power portfolio in India.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is also expected to submit its bid, one of the persons mentioned above said.

Previously, it was reported that SB Energy had approached Brookfield to raise $600 million through dollar bonds. The plan was eventually dropped.

Meanwhile, merger talks between Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and Viacom18 have revived, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Economic Times.

The merged entity will have SPN as the majority shareholder with up to 55% stake while Reliance Industries’ Network18 and US entertainment company Viacom Inc, the 51:49 joint venture partners in Viacom18, will hold minority stakes.

The combined entity will own 77 channels, have close to Rs 10,000 crore in revenues, and an employee count of over 2,700. It will have two video streaming services (Voot and Sony LIV), three film studios, and two digital content studios, making it the number two entertainment network in India after Star & Disney India.

“The final negotiations are on and a formal agreement could be signed as soon as next week,” said one of the persons mentioned above.

The companies were involved in negotiations earlier, but the talks didn’t fructify due to disagreement over valuations. “This time it seems the deal will go through,” another person said.

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