Sony, Zee Continue Merger Talks Amid Cancellation Rumors: Report

Sony Group remains engaged in discussions regarding the potential merger of its Indian subsidiary with Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

What Happened? Sources close to the negotiations revealed to Nikkei that the talks, set to continue until January 20, are still active despite previous reports suggesting Sony might call off the deal over disagreements about the merged entity’s leadership.

Central to the discussions is the position of CEO for the merged unit. Zee Entertainment is advocating for its current CEO, Punit Goenka, to lead the combined entity. However, Sony has expressed reservations about Goenka continuing in the role, citing allegations of his misuse of company funds. These allegations, currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Board of India, have made Sony hesitant to accept Goenka as the CEO.

See also: Zee Fails To Make $200 Mn Payment To Disney For Cricket Rights Amid Sony Merger Woes

What to know: The merger, if realized, would mark a significant consolidation in the Indian broadcasting industry, potentially creating the nation’s largest broadcaster. The agreement, initially signed in 2021, proposed that Sony would hold a majority stake in the new entity. While Indian regulators approved the merger in August, Sony reported a delay in September, and in December, Zee requested an extension of the deadline.

Amidst these ongoing negotiations, Bloomberg reported on Monday that Sony was considering terminating the deal. In response, Sony has withheld comment, whereas Zee affirmed its commitment to the merger, focusing on achieving a successful closure.

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