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ED investigates Mumbai's Essel Group continental office: Report

Zee and Sony merger dispute escalates.

According to reports cited by ET Now, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched the Essel Group Continental Office in Mumbai on January 24.

The Zee Entertainment and Essel Group companies are already under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Zee Entertainment announced  that it had filed a complaint with the National Company Law Tribunal against Sony's decision to drop the proposed merger.

The firm has moved the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in response to the firm's legal action challenging Sony's claims of $90 million (about ₹748.5 crore) as a termination fee.

Zee Entertainment has asked Culver Max and Bangla Entertainment Pvt Ltd to revoke their termination and reaffirm their support for the NCLT-approved merger plan.

Sony declared that it was ending its merger agreement with Zee, citing unfulfilled closing conditions and an inability to reach a consensus on an extension before the deadline of January 21. Zee has demanded that BEPL and Culver Max carry out their commitments under the merger agreement.

"After more than two years of negotiations, we are extremely disappointed... We remain committed to growing our presence in this vibrant and fast-growing market," Sony added. As per the merger agreement, signed on December 22, 2021, Zee and Sony Pictures Networks India, along with Bangla Entertainment, were to be merged into a single entity within 24 months.

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