Sony, Zee merger still in the balance
June 27, 2023
By Chris Forrester
India’s troubled broadcast merger between Sony’s India division and Zee Entertainment remains in a precarious position.
A planned hearing by India’s Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) which should have happened on June 26th was scrubbed. The hearing would have given an opportunity for Subhash Chandra, chairman of Essel Group, and Punit Goenka (pictured), MD and CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), to rebut complaints made to India’s Securities & Exchange Board (SEBI) and which resulted in an interim ruling from SEBI that the two individuals step aside from the proposed merged business.
Sandeep Bajaj, managing partner at PSL Advocates & Solicitors, explained the outcomes of the proceedings to local news outlets, saying: “While in the previous hearing on June 19 no interim relief had been given by the SAT with respect to the order of SEBI whereby Essel Group chairman Chandra, and his son Mr Goenka have been barred from holding the position of director or any key managerial positions in any listed company, a lot is dependent on the outcome of the hearing before the SAT.”
Another lawyer, Pratyush Miglani, managing partner, MVAC Advocates & Consultants, explained: “Legal proceedings would likely continue, and the outcome could impact ZEEL’s stock price, ability to attract investments and even ongoing merger plans with Sony Pictures Networks India. Until the official order is disclosed, one can only speculate as to whether SEBI has been directed to present a better affidavit”.