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Zee in 'active engagement' with Sony amid merger disputes: Report

Zee Entertainment has reported a 9% year-on-year increase in net profit, reaching ₹123 crore in Q2 FY24.

Punit Goenka, the managing director and chief executive officer, Zee Entertainment, has confirmed that the company is actively involved in discussions with Culver Max Entertainment, formerly known as Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), regarding the proposed merger scheme, he stated during the earnings call on November 9.

These talks unfold amidst discussions about disagreements between the two companies regarding leadership roles in the merged entity. The merger, approved by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in August, encountered hurdles when Goenka, the driving force behind the plan, had to step down as CEO.

Addressing the challenges, Goenka said, "We have an active engagement with Sony on various parts of the scheme to be finally implemented after getting all the approvals. We have received the approval of the Mumbai bench of NCLT. We are committed that all points in the proposed merger scheme are fully addressed. We recognise the value the merger holds, and our focus is on unlocking opportunities for all the shareholders."

ZEEL, in a strong financial performance, announced a 9% rise in its combined net profit for the second quarter of the fiscal year 2023-24, amounting to ₹123 crore. The company's operating revenue also experienced a notable increase, reaching ₹2437.8 crore compared to ₹2023.9 crore reported in the same period last year.

Domestic ad revenues played a crucial role, totaling ₹941.1 crore. While there was a 4.4% quarter-on-quarter increase, there was a marginal 2.1% decline year-on-year. ZEE cited a slow pace in the overall recovery of the ad environment, a trend influenced by a busy cricket season, which included prominent events like the Asia Cup and ICC World Cup tournaments.

Subscription revenues saw a notable 8% growth compared to the previous year. This increase can be credited to the higher income from linear subscriptions following the implementation of the New Tariff Order (NTO) 3.0 and ZEE5's performance.

Zee Entertainment experienced a remarkable rise in their sales and services revenue, with a significant 201% increase compared to the previous year. This growth can be attributed to increased syndication and the successful performance of movies in theaters, demonstrating the company's successful efforts in diversifying their sources of income.

Zee remains a dominant force in the national linear television network, maintaining a strong 17.9% share as of Q2 FY24. The television sector experienced a notable growth, with operating revenues rising by 20.5%. In the quarter, the weekly reach of linear TV reached an impressive 764 million, and the weekly impressions amounted to a substantial 29.4 billion.

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