ZEEL withdraws from NCLT application for merger with Sony - Hindustan Times

ZEEL withdraws from NCLT application for merger with Sony

Apr 16, 2024 08:39 PM IST

In January, Sony Group Corp called off a USD 10 billion merger of its India unit with ZEEL.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has withdrawn its application for merger with Sony from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the company said in a statement.

Zee Entertainment and SONY logos are displayed in this illustration.(Reuters)
Zee Entertainment and SONY logos are displayed in this illustration.(Reuters)

In a statement on Tuesday, ZEEL said the steps taken by it to withdraw the implementation application from NCLT are based on the legal advice received by the Board.

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"This decision will also enable the company to pursue growth and evaluate strategic opportunities to generate higher value for all shareholders. The Board remains committed to reviewing the strategic action-oriented steps taken by the management and providing timely guidance," it added.

Read: What next for Sony after failed Zee merger? Company boss reveals India strategy

The company further said, "This decision to withdraw the implementation application will enable the company to continue to aggressively pursue all its claims against Sony in the ongoing arbitration proceedings at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and in other forums".

This move comes after a series of setbacks for the proposed merger between the two media giants. Despite receiving key regulatory approval from the NCLT in August 2023, the deal hit a roadblock primarily over the issue of leadership.

Read: Zee negotiating with Sony to revive scrapped merger deal? Media firm responds

Initially, the agreement stipulated that Punit Goenka, the CEO of Zee Entertainment, would lead the merged company. However, disagreements arose between the two parties, exacerbated by an investigation initiated by India's market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), into Goenka's conduct.

Sony, the owner of Culver Max Entertainment, ultimately decided to back out of the merger agreement in January. They also sought a termination fee of $90 million, citing alleged breaches by Zee Entertainment.

Read: Sony ‘disappointed’ with arbitrator's decision on Zee merger: ‘We will…’

Earlier this month, ZEE announced its decision to slash its workforce by 15% as the company grapples with financial challenges.

Advertising revenues fell by 3% year-on-year to 29.48 billion rupees in the nine months leading up to December 31. Its cash reserves dwindled to 2.48 billion rupees in the six months ended September 30, down from 5.88 billion rupees the previous year.

With PTI inputs

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