Zee said it remained “committed to the merger and is continuing to work towards its successful closure”, following the report that the $10-billion merger, which would create one of the largest broadcasting companies in the country, is on the brink of a cliff.Sony, however, didn’t come out with any statement.
After the expiry of the December 21, 2023, deadline to conclude the merger, Sony and Zee entered into a 30-day negotiation during which either of them could terminate the deal or extend the merger timeline.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, on Tuesday reported that Zee has missed a deadline to pay $200 million in cricket fees to Walt Disney India because of a cash crunch. The payment default poses a fresh challenge to Zee.
After the company late in the afternoon called the report “incorrect”, the stock regained some of its lost ground to close 7.6% down. The stock opened the session at Rs 250, down nearly 10% on the day, dipped to its intraday low at Rs 242 and closed at Rs 256.
Sony had earlier said that it will restart talks with Zee after the Indian company, helmed by Punit Goenka, expressed its inability to complete the merger within the original timeline, but emphasised that it “has not yet agreed to a deadline extension”.
Though the deal has won most of the customary approvals, it still needs two more nods – one from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) and the other from the registrar of companies. For the MIB clearance, Sony needs to submit the names of the directors who will occupy the board of the merged entity. But, with Goenka facing a regulatory probe, it is unable to submit the list.