Sony says merger process to take few more months

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Sony says merger process to take few more months

Sony has said that the process of acquiring Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. and Culver Max Entertainment, also known as Sony Pictures Networks India, will take a few more months. The long-awaited Zee-Sony merger was originally expected by the end of September.

The National Company Law Tribunal approved the merger of Zee and Sony on 10 August this year, rejecting numerous objections from various creditors to Zee. In an interview with Imax Corp., zeal lenders included IDBI Trusteeship, IDBI Bank, Axis Finance, JC Flowers Asset Reconstruction Co, and IDBI Trusteeship.

One of the key conditions of the Zee-Sony deal is that Punit Goenka would be the MD and CEO of the merged company.

The deal, which was announced in December 2021, will bring together more than 70 TV channels, two video streaming services and two film studios.

In August 2023, the Bombay High Court dismissed a bid by Axis Finance to implead Zee, Essel Mauritius, and Sony in its commercial summary suit against zee promoter Subhash Chandra Goenka and others. The company was seeking to recover Rs 146 million from Subhash Chandra Goenka.

Karan Taurani, senior vice-president of research at brokerage Elara Capital, said the Zee-Sony merger could be a reality by December.

Taurani said he was determined to improve the country's economy.

For every 100 shares held in ZEEL, the shareholders would receive 85 shares of the merged company. After the exchange procedure, ZEEL's stock will be delisted and relisted as the merged company.

Earlier this month, FTSE announced that Sony will immediately replace Zee Entertainment in all FTSE indices.

Zee has been grappling with legal hurdles related to the proposed merger. On September 14, Axis Finance Ltd moved the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal against NCLT's order approving the deal.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd said in a statement that it has served with an appeal on behalf of Axis Finance Limited against the company before the NCLAT, Delhi, challenging the order dated August 10, 2023 passed by the NCLT, Mumbai bench.

IDBI Bank had earlier moved NCLAT to challenge the NCLT's approval for the Sony-Zee deal. On September 6 ZEEL said the company has been served with an appeal on behalf of IDBI Bank before the NCLAT.

Both of the media giants sought permission from the National Stock Exchange, BSE and sectoral regulatory bodies like the Competition Commission of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India after they obtained permits from the National Stock Exchange, BSE and sectoral regulators such as the Competition Commission of India.

In June, Sebi passed an interim order preventing Chandra and Goenka from holding any board or key management position in ZEEL, its subsidiaries or any company resulting from a merger with these companies.

Sebi accused the duo of helping them move funds out of ZEEL and routed them back to the company through layered and circuitous transactions.

The regulatory panel alleged that Chandra and Goenka used their positions for personal financial gain. The Hindu newspaper said the Mumbai-based media house had faked the recovery of loans to cover private financing deals by its founder Chandra.

Goenka and Chandra appealed against this order at the SAT, but the tribunal refused to stay the same. The father-son duo was directed by SAT to file a reply/objection along with an application to vacate the stay given in the interim order.

On 27 September, SAT reserved the appeal made by Chandra and Goenka challenging the Sebi order.

The share of MCX fell 9% as SEBI delayed the launch of a new technology platform.