Advanced Television

Sony-Zee merger goes down to the wire

December 15, 2023

By Chris Forrester

The long-running saga between Sony Pictures Networks India (now called Culver Max Entertainment) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) is reportedly close to a decision. But it is currently anyone’s guess as to who will head up the combined company. Indeed, some observers suggest that a decision may not be made by the pre-agreed merger deadline of December 21st.

The on-off merger plan was announced in September 21st but has run a rollercoaster since as the pair have faced legal, compliance, regulatory and organisational challenges that threatened to derail the scheme.

Local reports state that the choice of MD of the combined group is still very much undecided. Sony is said to favour  its own N P Singh, currently MD and CEO at Sony. ZEEL favours its own CEO, Punit Goenka, however Goenka is under a cloud having been barred from holding the position by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI). A subsequent appeal cleared the prohibition, but there is certainly a cloud against Goenka’s potential appointment.

Should a decision be made in favour of Singh, then the appointment would need ratification from shareholders.

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