Zee Entertainment says it is free to approach an Indian court to enforce the Sony merger agreement

MUMBAI – Zee Entertainment may ask an Indian court to enforce a US$10 billion (Singapore $13.43 billion) merger with Sony's Indian unit after a Singapore arbitration center rejected an emergency application by the Japanese company to stay the proceedings Zee said on February 4th.

Sony scrapped the merger on January 22, ending a deal that could have resulted in one of India's largest television networks. Sony claimed breach of contract.

Zee denied the claims and asked an Indian court to order Sony to fulfill its obligations to complete the merger.

The Singapore International Arbitration Center said it had no jurisdiction or authority to stop Zee from approaching the Indian arbitration tribunal, adding that the merger falls within the jurisdiction of the National Company Law Tribunal of India, Zee said in the documents filed with Indian stock exchanges.

Sony did not immediately respond to Reuters calls and emails seeking comment.

The Zee-Sony merger, which has been in the works for two years, would have created an Indian TV giant with more than 90 channels across sports, entertainment and news, competing with the likes of Walt Disney and billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance would have.

In ending the merger, Sony also cited the Indian media company's alleged failure to comply with some financial terms of the deal, a dispute over compliance issues including the divestment of some Russian assets and its $1.4 billion Disney cricket rights- deal, as Reuters reported last week. REUTERS