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Zee-Sony Merger Case: NCLAT refuses to stay merger, next hearing scheduled for January 8

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) today on December 15 refused to stay the merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) and Culver Max Entertainment (formerly known as Sony Pictures India), PTI reported.

It was hearing an appeal by Axis Finance and IDBI Bank who have challenged the merger in the tribunal. The next hearing has been listed for January 8, 2024.

Earlier on December 6, the NCLAT had adjourned the hearing on the two appeals due to paucity of time, as per a PTI report. On October 31, the matter was listed before a different bench, which transferred both petitions to the NCLAT bench headed by its Chairperson.

Both IDBI Bank and Axis Finance have challenged a National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) Mumbai bench order dated August 10, which approved the mega media merger and dismissed some applications moved by financial institutions opposing the move, the PTI report added. These institutions include IDBI Trusteeship, IDBI Bank, Axis Finance, JC Flowers Asset Reconstruction Co, and Imax Corp.

Also Read | Zee-Sony merger: Deal completion expected to take a few more months

Zee-Sony merger a done deal?

Even without the legal roadblocks, Sony and ZEEL are facing hurdles in finalising their proposed merger due to a deadlock over leadership arrangements for the merged entity. 

Both parties want their respective chiefs – namely NP Singh, MD & CEO of Sony India, and Punit Goenka, MD & CEO of ZEEL, to helm the merged media company. The disagreement has stalled development even as the December 21 deadline looms.

Also Read: Sony’s googly on CEO may stump Zee merger

Sony is “not agreeable” to Zee’s position, as per a Financial Express report. It noted that the biggest bone of contention is the now overturned Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) ban on Goenka.

The regulator had banned Goenka and Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra from holding directorships in Zee Group companies due to an ongoing probe into allegations of fund diversion by Goenka.

 

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Published: 15 Dec 2023, 12:43 PM IST

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