Japan’s Sony says Zee merger to be delayed by a few months

(Reuters) -Japan’s Sony Group Corp said on Friday a merger of its Indian unit with Zee Entertainment Enterprises, which had an initial deadline of September, would take a few more months to complete.

“Based on the current state of preparation, we expect completion within the next few months,” Sony said in a statement, without elaborating further.

Sony and Zee did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The merger to create a $10 billion media and entertainment powerhouse, which was announced in 2021, won a key approval in August. It was delayed due to issues including a legal battle with lenders over loan defaults by a Zee group entity.

The combination also ran into problems after the Securities and Exchange Board of India banned Zee’s CEO, Punit Goenka, who had been lined up to run the merged entity, from the boardrooms of listed companies for a year.

Earlier this month, Zee was served with a fresh setback after lender Axis Finance approached an appellate tribunal to challenge the approval the merger received in August.

Zee shares, which have lost about a quarter of their value since the merger was announced in 2021, were up 2.7% on Friday.

(Reporting by Ashna Teresa Britto and Chris Thomas; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Sohini Goswami)