Punit Goenka, CEO of ZEE Entertainment, insists that the planned merger between ZEE Entertainment and the Indian unit of Sony Pictures will proceed, regardless of his own role as CEO of the combined company. He made this statement in an interview with the Economic Times.
What Happened? The Indian market regulator has placed a one-year ban on Subhash Chandra, ZEE Entertainment’s Chairman, and Goenka himself. This ban is due to their alleged roles in misusing company funds for related group entities. As a result, uncertainty looms over the planned Zee-Sony merger.
Before the ban, Goenka was slated to take on the role of Managing Director and CEO of the merged $10 billion (₹81,924 crore) TV enterprise. “Sony will control the merged entity, and they want me to continue as a promoter, MD, and CEO. The merger is of immense importance, regardless of my position,” Goenka said.
Sony had expressed that it took the Indian regulator’s ban seriously. It will keep a close watch on the developments that might impact the deal announced in 2021. However, Zee has yet to comment on the matter.
Goenka argued against letting the merger fail if legal issues prevent him from holding his positions. Such an outcome, he claimed, would harm everyone in the ecosystem and the sector. Analyst Karan Taurani of Elara Capital echoed this sentiment speaking to Reuters but suggested that the merger could proceed without Goenka, with a Sony representative as CEO.
Cover image by mipmarkets on Flickr
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