Major Egyptian TV networks and competitors Al-Nahar and CBC announced on Tuesday a merger under the umbrella of a holding company in a move that aims to expand the reach of the networks beyond Egypt.
The merger will "increase the size of the market and increase competition," Chairman of CBC Waleed El-Essawy announced during a Cairo press conference.
But El-Essawy also said the new holding company will attempt to "go beyond Egypt's border and market."
"I hope this partnership would be in the benefit of Egyptian media," El-Essawy concluded.
On restructuring the new company, El-Essawy said "people think of merger as eliminating labour and lowering salaries, but we will preserve all professional labour and big media figures."
Meanwhile, head of Al-Nahar Networks Alaa Al-Kahky said the merger negotiations lasted nine months and ultimately reached the present agreement which stipulates the new holding company will acquire a total of five companies.
The companies that will be united under the holding company are the Future Company that owns CBC, CBC's Future advertising company, Al-Nahar owner Trinta Company, and Al-Nahar's Advertising company Media Line as well as two other media services companies.
The holding company will also explore the possibilities producing movies, Al-Kahky added.
Also attending the press conference were CBC's owner Mohamed Al-Amin and general manager of Al-Nahar, Amr El-Kahky.
Even prior to Tuesday's merger, the Egyptian media scene has been shifting. High-profile Businessman Ahmed Abu Hashima acquired ONTV channels from billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris.
Abu Hashima is one of the most important shareholders of Youm7, one of Egypt's most prominent news websites.
During the announcement of his acquisition of ONTV, Abu Hashima hinted that he is currently negotiating other media acquisitions.
Both Al-Nahar and CBC launched following the January 2011 uprising.
Al-Nahar launched in June 2011. Besides a main channel with its name, it also has several other channels including Al-Nahar Sports, Al-Nahar Drama which broadcasts TV series and soap operas, and news and entertainment channel Al-Nahar Al-Youm.
CBC started broadcasting in July 2011 with a single channel. CBC has expanded to CBC Sofra, a channel dedicated to cooking shows, CBC Drama, which broadcasts soap operas and TV shows, and CBC Extra that features additional talk shows and entertainment.