Zee, Sony have one-month grace period to close India ops merger – Bloomberg News

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Japan’s Sony Group have a one-month headroom from the Dec. 21 deadline to close the merger of their India operations, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The merger pact, which would create a $10 billion media and entertainment powerhouse, was signed in 2021 with a provision for a 30-day grace period after the deadline if either party sought more time, the report added.

Zee and Sony did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for confirmation of the grace period.

Zee on Wednesday said it was in talks with Sony’s India unit about extending the merger deadline, as they sought to clear the uncertainty over the leadership of the combined entity.

“We are required to meet with Zee to discuss the possibility of extending the deadline per our agreement, and we look forward to hearing their proposals,” a Sony spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Sony, on Tuesday, had said it “has not yet agreed to merger deadline extension” with Zee.

The deal, announced two years ago by Zee and Sony to merge their TV channels, streaming platforms and film assets, has been delayed after India’s markets regulator in August barred Zee CEO Punit Goenka, a CEO candidate for the merged entity, from directorships of any listed company.

An Indian tribunal, however, lifted the ban on Goenka in October but had said he would have to cooperate with any investigation by India’s markets regulator.

(Reporting by Kashish Tandon, additional reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)