Initially expected to be listed in January, the merger is now likely to be completed by March or April.
Zee Entertainment has requested an extension from Sony to finalise the merger scheme, with the cut-off date set for December 22, 2023.
The listing of the merged entity formed by Zee Entertainment and Sony Pictures Networks India (now Culver Max Entertainment) has encountered a delay of three to four months, media reports suggest. Initially expected to be listed in January, the merger is now likely to be completed by March or April.
Negotiations between the parties are anticipated to conclude in the next 3-4 weeks. Following this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), along with the record date, delisting/relisting process, may take an additional six to eight weeks. While the extension is seen as a positive development, the CEO appointment remains a key point of contention, with Zee pushing for Punit Goenka and Sony expressing concerns due to an ongoing SEBI investigation.
The tussle over the CEO role had previously jeopardised the merger, and negotiations are expected to continue. The outcome of the SEBI investigation, which could take 8-12 months, may influence the appointment. Despite these challenges, there is optimism about the merger's eventual success. The merger, approved by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in August, faced obstacles when Goenka, the driving force behind the plan, had to step down as CEO due to a SEBI order. Although the order was set aside by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on October 30, it didn't preclude further investigation by SEBI. Legal experts suggest a comprehensive and thorough SEBI investigation may follow.