India bars Zee MD from merger with Sony
August 16, 2023
By Chris Forrester
India’s Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will complete its investigation into the case pertaining to Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd owners Subhash Chandra and Punit Goenka within 8 months, SEBI Chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch said in a revised order.
Until the investigation is complete, Chandra and Goenka will not hold any directorial positions in any of the Essel Group companies.
The revised order, issued August 14th, will – at least in the short term – impact Goenka’s proposed MD position at the Zee-Sony merged business. The merger between Zee and the Indian unit of Sony was approved by India’s National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) last week.
The revised order from SEBI came in the form of a 91-page decision from the regulator which stated that it wanted to clarify the length of the ‘ban’ on Goenka and to replace any confusion that its previous directive of June 12th which could be interpreted as being “indefinite in terms of scope and time”.
On July 17th Goenka wrote to Zee staff saying that while the merger scheme was in an advanced stage of completion, staff should not be worried about his own future role in the merged business.
“The important point to be focused upon is not what is happening to me, but on what is happening, or should happen to our great Company; which we have together built over the last 30 years and more. The important point to be excited about is the fact that this Company is all set to merge with the most prestigious global media and entertainment brand – Sony,” Goenka’s letter said.