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ZEE asks for more time over Sony merger

December 18, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Another hurdle has emerged in the long-awaited merger between Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) and Sony’s India business. Shares in ZEEL fell 4 per cent following news that ZEEL has asked for an extension to the deadline for the merger to take place, according to Reuters.

Zee Entertainment said in separate regulatory filing on December 16th that two of its independent board directors (Vivek Mehra and Sasha Mirchandani) had not achieved the votes needed to secure their re-appointment ahead of a December 21st deadline for completion of the merger.

Their reappointments are needed as they could influence the selection of the head of the new merged entity.

The choice of MD of the combined group is still very much undecided. Sony are said to favour their own N P Singh, currently MD and CEO at Sony. ZEEL favour their 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 ZEEL shareholders.

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