Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday said it takes the interim order of the Securities and Exchange Board of India against Zee promoters Subhash Chandra and his son Punit Goenka seriously and it will continue to monitor developments that may affect the proposed merger. While Chandra is the chairman of the Essel group, Goenka is the managing director and CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
Sony issued a statement following reports over the fate of the deal in the aftermath of the order given by the market regulator which has now been challenged in the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT).
It is felt that Sebi’s order could delay the proposed merger or lead to modification in the major terms of the merger. The latest reports have indicated that Sony is likely to go ahead with the amalgamation.
“There have been several erroneous press reports recently speculating about the future of Zee’s planned merger with SPNI (Sony Pictures Networks India) following Sebi’s interim order against Subhash Chandra and Punit Goenka,” the company said.
“We take very seriously the Sebi interim order and will continue to monitor developments that may affect the deal,’’ it added. The statement had a positive impact on the Zee stock which bounced over 4 per cent or Rs 7 to close at Rs 180.35 on the BSE. Market circles said the absence of adverse comments made by Sony pushed up the Zee stock.
Last week, Chandra and Goenka moved the SAT challenging the Sebi interim order that barred them from holding the position of a director or key managerial personnel in any listed company.
The action from the market regulator came as it allegedly found that the duo was siphoning off funds from Zee.
The SAT did not give any interim relief to Chandra and Goenka. While the SAT will hear the matter again on June 26, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) will also consider the proposed merger on the same date.
In September 2021, SPNI and ZEEL entered into a non-binding term sheet to bring together their networks. The combined entity will own over 70 TV channels, two video streaming services (ZEE5 and Sony LIV) and two film studios (Zee Studios and Sony Pictures Films India).