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Business News/ Companies / News/  Zee-Sony deal: Zee withdraws merger implementation application from NCLT
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Zee-Sony deal: Zee withdraws merger implementation application from NCLT

Zee Entertainment Enterprises said decision to withdraw the application will enable it to continue to aggressively pursue all its claims against Sony in the ongoing arbitration proceedings at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and other forums.

Zee Entertainment and SONY logos are displayed in this illustration (REUTERS)Premium
Zee Entertainment and SONY logos are displayed in this illustration (REUTERS)

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. on Tuesday withdrew its application from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) concerning the implementation of its merger with Sony Entertainment Enterprises (Culver Max), an official statement by the company said. 

In January, the Punit Goenka-led media firm first moved the tribunal seeking directions to implement the merger. This was after the Sony through one of its letters, terminated its long-pending merger with the media and entertainment firm. 

Zee, however, called on Culver Max Entertainment to immediately withdraw the termination and confirm that they will perform their obligations to implement the Merger Scheme, duly approved by the company tribunal. 

“The step taken by the company to withdraw the implementation application is based on the advice received by the board after a detailed consultation with legal experts. The decision will also enable the company to pursue growth and evaluate strategic opportunities to generate higher value for all shareholders," the statement said. 

While the company board also added that it is reviewing strategic and action-oriented steps taken by the management and will commit itself to providing timely guidance. 

Besides, as a legal remedy Zee had also stated that it would pursue Culver Max and Bangla Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s (BEPL) claims in the arbitration proceedings before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). 

In this regard, the company clarified that its decision to withdraw the implementation application will enable it to continue to aggressively pursue all its claims against Sony in the ongoing arbitration proceedings at the arbitration and other forums.

The merger between two of the largest media companies was seen as one of the biggest in the Indian media and entertainment sector, before Sony called it off and demanded compensation for Zee breaching terms of the agreement .

R. Gopalan, chairman at Zee said, “Zee’s immediate priority will be to focus on the performance of the company and achieve its targeted goals for the future."

Gopalan added that the board remains focused towards maximizing shareholder value, strengthening the company’s claims in arbitration and enabling the company to explore strategic opportunities.

In an earlier interview to Mint, Gopalan had stated that while there was interest from several potential partners, meaningful discussions could not occur due to the pending legal matter. “We prefer a legal resolution. Ultimately, the decision rests with the NCLT."

In the last few weeks, Zee has been on a mission to restructure business, reduce cost and improve its Ebitda margins. 

Goenka, manging director & chief executive officer, has taken a 20% pay cut himself, while has also announced a 15% reduction in overall headcount. 

The company has also seen a series of senior level exits, including Rahul Johri, president of business; Punit Misra, president of content and international markets; Nitin Mittal, president and group chief technology officer; and Shariq Patel, chief business officer, Zee Studio.

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Published: 16 Apr 2024, 08:13 PM IST
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