The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLAT) has granted approval for a merger between India's homegrown entertain company Zee Entertainment and the Indian unit of Sony Group, creating a media and entertainment powerhouse worth $10 billion.
While announcing the order, the bench comprising Justice HV Subba Rao and member Madhu Sinha, gave approval to the scheme and dismissed all objections raised by some lenders including Axis Finance, JC Flowers Asset Reconstruction Co, IDBI Bank, Imax Corp, and IDBI Trusteeship, reports Livemint.
This move has been long-awaited and will result in a company that is nearly 51 per cent owned by Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and will have 3.99 per cent ownership by Zee's founders, reports news agency Reuters.
The Zee Group, one of India's earliest privately owned television networks, is set to become the largest player in the industry through its alliance with Sony.
The merger between Zee Entertainment and Sony faced challenges following the ban imposed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India on Zee's CEO Punit Goenka.
The CEO, who was initially designated to lead the merged entity, was prohibited from participating in the boardrooms of listed companies for a year.
After Goenka's failed attempt to overturn the ban at appeal, Zee established an interim committee under the supervision of its board to take charge of operations.
In a significant relief for Zee, an Indian tribunal halted the insolvency proceedings initiated by IndusInd Bank Ltd in February.
Subsequently, the media company managed to resolve its dispute with the lender.
To address regulatory concerns, Zee and Sony offered concessions, including pricing discounts, and received antitrust approval for their merged entity. This new entity will now compete with Walt Disney India and Network18, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
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