Zee-Sony merger fallout: Zee may approach Indian court to enforce Sony merger deal

Implications for Zee-Sony merger deal: Zee Entertainment has said it is free to seek enforcement of a $10 billion merger with Sony's Indian unit through an Indian arbitration tribunal, following an emergency application filed by Sony with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) was rejected. on February 4, Reuters reported.

Sony terminated the merger on January 22, citing breaches of contract, ending a deal that could have created one of India's largest television networks. In response, Zee strongly denied these claims and is now moving to an Indian court to order Sony to fulfill its obligations and complete the merger.

According to Zee's filings with Indian stock exchanges, SIAC claimed that it lacked jurisdiction to stop Zee from approaching the Indian court and said the merger fell within the jurisdiction of the National Company Law Tribunal of India .

Sony expressed disappointment in a statement and clarified that the decision was procedural in nature and focused solely on whether Zee could proceed with its application to the Company Court. Sony plans to vigorously arbitrate the matter in Singapore before a full-fledged SIAC arbitration tribunal, maintaining its commitment to uphold Sony India's right to terminate the merger agreement and seek remedies, including a termination fee.

“We will continue to vigorously resolve the matter in Singapore before a full SIAC arbitration tribunal and pursue the right of SPNI (Sony India) to terminate the merger agreement and seek termination fee and other remedies,” he added. “We remain confident in the merits of our position in both Singapore and India.”

Despite the setback, Sony remains confident in the merits of its position in both Singapore and India. The proposed Zee-Sony merger, which has been underway for two years, was aimed at creating a formidable Indian television company with over 90 channels across sports, entertainment and news. Sony's termination of the merger also cited the Indian media company's alleged failure to meet certain financial conditions, disputes over the divestment of Russian assets and issues surrounding a $1.4 billion Disney cricket rights deal, such as Reuters reported last week.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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