NCLT Green Lights Sony India and Zee Entertainment's Acquisition


On August 10, the National Company Law Tribunal approved Zed Entertainment Enterprises Ltd's proposed merger with Sony India. On July 10, the NCLT reserved its decision on the merger of Zed Entertainment Enterprises and Culver Max Entertainment (previously known as Sony Pictures Networks India). This is a critical regulatory approval for the mega merger, which was announced in 2021 but has been delayed due to a variety of factors.

The merger was stymied initially by a courtroom feud between Zee's founders and its largest shareholder, and then by an insolvency case filed against Zed, which was halted in February.

In December 2021, Zee Entertainment and Sony Pictures reached an agreement to combine their businesses. Subsequently, both media companies approached the tribunal to seek approval for the merger, having already obtained necessary permissions from the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), and other regulatory bodies like the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

"Zed, which faced legal challenges in finalising the merger, can now breathe a sigh of relief as the deal moves forward." The merger with Sony is expected to benefit a variety of stakeholders, including the companies themselves by strengthening their competitive positions, shareholders by potentially increasing value, and viewers by potentially providing a broader range of content. "The combination of their strengths may result in synergies that can foster growth and efficiency in their operations," said Sonam Chandwani, Managing Partner of KS Legal & Associates.

After hearing arguments from creditors who objected to the scheme, including Axis Finance, JC Flower Asset Reconstruction Co, IDBI Bank, Imax Corp, and IDBI Trusteeship, the Mumbai bench of NCLT, comprised of H V Subba Rao and Madhu Sinha, reserved the order last month.