Highlights

  • Zee's $10B merger with Sony faces delays and shareholder unrest.
  • Zee seeks extension for closure amid uncertainties in entertainment merger.

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Zee Entertainment's merger with Sony hits roadblock as Zee seeks extension for closure

The reappointment bids for independent directors Vivek Mehra and Sasha Mirchandani were rejected, falling short of the necessary 75% shareholder approval for special resolutions. Additionally, Adesh Kumar Gupta withdrew his candidature before the AGM.

Zee Entertainment's merger with Sony hits roadblock as Zee seeks extension for closure

Zee-Sony Merger: Zee has approached Sony Pictures India, seeking additional time to finalize their anticipated $10 billion merger. This delay comes amidst growing unrest among investors in India's leading publicly traded entertainment company. The cut-off date for the merger is December 22, 2023, two years from when the merger agreement between the two media companies was signed on December 21, 2021.

In a recent development, Zee encountered setbacks during its annual general meeting (AGM). The reappointment of two independent directors, Vivek Mehra and Sasha Mirchandani, faced rejection as the proposals failed to secure the required 75% approval from shareholders for special resolutions. Furthermore, Adesh Kumar Gupta withdrew his candidature just days before the AGM, citing personal reasons, rendering his reappointment ineffective.

Lack of clarity surrounding extension request

Zee's notification to the stock exchanges on Sunday remained cryptic, omitting specifics about the extension request made to Sony. It remains uncertain whether Sony will accede to Zee's appeal for an extension, adding further ambiguity to the situation.

Background and implications of the merger

The proposed merger, initially disclosed in September 2021, aims to amalgamate Zee's linear networks, digital assets, production operations, and program libraries with SPNI. This combined entity would boast a colossal repository comprising over 70 TV channels, two video streaming services (ZEE5 and Sony LIV), and two prominent film studios (Zee Studios and Sony Pictures Films India).

Board reshuffling and CEO selection

In response to the board's reshuffling, Zee promptly appointed three new independent directors – Venkata Ramana Murthy Pinisetti, Shishir Babubhai Desai, and Uttam Prakash Agarwal – effective from December 17, 2023. These appointments followed the failure to reappoint Mehra and Mirchandani and are crucial amid reports indicating tensions between Zee and Sony regarding the potential leadership of Punit Goenka post-merger.

The unfolding developments within Zee Entertainment underscore the complexities surrounding the merger with Sony, including board dynamics and leadership transitions. The company's pursuit of an extension for the merger signals critical negotiations underway, pivotal for shaping the future contours of India's media and entertainment landscape.

Also Watch: Sony India and Zee Entertainment merger enters final stages, closure expected in November

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