The merger between Zee and Sony was supposed to be concluded by December 21, 2023. But Zee requested an extension and Sony agreed.Accordingly, a 30-day extension till January 20 was included in the pact. It is not known by how many weeks Zee has sought the second timeline extension from Sony.
According to the agreement, both the parties can extend the merger deadline thrice. If Sony decides against the deal, then it will have to pay a termination fee of $100 million to Zee. A Sony spokeswoman didn’t respond to calls and text messages sent in connection to the report.
Zee has been seeking time to resolve the issue of whether its MD Punit Goenka would run the show at the merged company. According to the agreement inked in December 2021, Goenka is supposed to lead the merged entity. Though Sony agreed to this clause, it changed its stand after Goenka ran into regulatory troubles. Markets regulator Sebi is conducting an investigation against Geonka and Zee in a securities law violation case. A final order in this matter is yet to come out.
Amid the legal troubles, Sony has been pitching its India head, N P Singh, as MD of the new entity. However, Goenka has not accepted this suggestion. The developments come at a time when another consolidation in the media and entertainment sector is in the works as Reliance Industries’ Viacom18 and the India unit of Walt Disney combine their operations in the country.
Zee has been reiterating that it is committed to the merger and is continuing to work towards its successful closure amid reports of Sony planning to call off the deal.