The biggest losers in most mega-mergers and acquisitions is talent at both the entities, and the upcoming Sony Pictures Network India and ZEE merger would be no exception. The merger, which was announced on December 22, is awaiting regulatory clearances. Once it comes through, expect large scale employee rationalisation. The media industry was witness to significant layoffs not so long ago, when Star India asked over 500 employees to exit post the acquisition of its parent 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company in 2018.
ZEE Entertainment MD and CEO, Punit Goenka—who would take over as MD of the merged entity—admits that rationalisation of manpower is definitely on the cards. “We will pick the best of ours and theirs. The business has to operate as one entity,” says Goenka. “We will not favour talent at ZEE over Sony or vice-versa. We will look at the best that is available as it is the delivery of the business that is most important,” he further adds.
Goenka says that the bulk of the employee rationalisation would happen in corporate functions. “On the linear side, I don’t expect much rationalisation. If the channels have to continue those people have to continue too. The corporate functions will see rationalisation, as you may not need duplicates in every department.”
Goenka assures that all those employees which the company would have to part with would be suitably taken care of. “I don’t want to term it as a lay-off. One has to be humane and manage it in a more sensitive manner rather than just handing out pink slips. After all, our business is all about human capital, that is the best that we have therefore we will nurture the best talent.”