The India Watch

Plans to Abandon $10 Billion Zee Enterprises Merger by Sony

<p><strong>New Delhi:</strong> According to individuals with knowledge of the situation, Sony Group Corp. intends to revoke the merger agreement between Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. and its India division, ending two years of turmoil and delaying the establishment of a $10 billion media conglomerate.<br />
The Japanese conglomerate, who wished to remain anonymous since the information is private, stated that it is considering pulling out of the merger because of a disagreement over whether Punit Goenka, the son of Zee’s founder, will serve as the combined company’s CEO. According to the persons, Sony no longer wants Mr. Goenka as CEO in the wake of a regulatory investigation, despite the agreement inked in 2021 that he would run the new firm.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-343194″ src=”×422.jpg” alt=” plans to abandon 10 billion zee enterprises merger by sony 659bd5a258fe7 sony plan” width=”976″ height=”549″ title=”Plans to Abandon $10 Billion Zee Enterprises Merger by Sony 12″ srcset=”×422.jpg 750w,×432.jpg 768w,×220.jpg 390w,×84.jpg 150w, 948w” sizes=”(max-width: 976px) 100vw, 976px” /></p>
<p>According to one of the sources, Sony intends to submit the notice of termination prior to the extended deadline of January 20th for concluding the agreement, citing several prerequisites that have not been fulfilled for the merger. Another individual claims that during lengthy conversations over the past few weeks, Mr. Goenka has maintained his position that he wants to lead the combined firm as originally negotiated.</p>
<p>The two parties are still in communication, so a settlement may yet be reached before the deadline.</p>
<p>Emails and phone calls requesting comment were not immediately answered by representatives for Sony and Zee.</p>
<p>Final-Mile Hurdle<br />
In addition to making Zee susceptible to potential defaults, the deal’s cancellation as a result of the last-lap leadership struggle coincides with billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s attempts to support Reliance Industries Ltd.’s media aspirations by attempting to negotiate a merger with Walt Disney Co.’s India division.</p>
<p>The goal of the Sony-Zee merger was to build a $10 billion media conglomerate with the resources to compete with regional titans like Reliance and worldwide giants like Netflix Inc. and Inc.</p>
<p>Zee, located in Mumbai, has previously asked for a one-month extension of the deadline of December 21. At the time, Sony declared its interest in hearing Zee’s suggestions for fulfilling the “remaining critical closing conditions.”</p>
<p>Zee’s founder, Subhash Chandra, allegedly staged the recovery of debts in order to mask private funding agreements, according to allegations made by the Securities and Exchange Board of India in June. In an interim decision, SEBI claimed that Chandra and his son, Mr. Goenka, “abused their position” and siphoned off cash. As a result, Mr. Goenka is not eligible to be appointed as an officer or director in any listed company.</p>
<p>As Bloomberg previously reported, Sony sees the ongoing investigation as a matter of corporate governance, despite the fact that Mr. Goenka received a respite from an appeal tribunal over the Sebi ruling.</p>
<p>In the planned acquisition, Mr. Goenka’s family was to possess 3.99% and Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. would have held 50.86% of the combined media company, according to the 2021 agreement. Nearly all regulatory clearances for the proposed merger have been obtained, and it would have aided in the growth of Sony’s media company in the most populated nation on earth.</p>

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