Zee Files $90 Million Lawsuit Against Sony After Merger Talks Fail

GG News Bureau
Mumbai, 24th May. 
Zee Entertainment Enterprises has escalated its legal battle against the Sony Group, seeking a termination fee of USD 90 million (approximately ₹748.7 crore) following the collapse of their USD 10 billion merger deal earlier this year. The move comes as Zee alleges breaches of the Merger Cooperation Agreement (MCA) by Sony Group entities, prompting Zee to terminate the MCA and demand compensation.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Zee Entertainment disclosed its pursuit of termination fees from Sony Pictures Networks India (now Culver Max Entertainment) and Bangla Entertainment (BEPL). The filing outlines Zee’s actions in response to alleged failures by Culver Max and BEPL to fulfill their obligations under the MCA.

According to Zee’s statement, Culver Max and BEPL’s purported breaches led to the termination of the MCA, with Zee calling upon both entities to pay the termination fee as stipulated in the agreement.

The dispute dates back to January 22, 2024, when Sony Group Corporation initiated arbitration proceedings against Zee, citing the latter’s failure to meet merger conditions and claiming the same USD 90 million as a termination fee. However, Zee contested Sony’s claims before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), which denied interim relief to Sony against the Indian broadcaster.

Zee’s decision to terminate the MCA and demand compensation marks a significant escalation in the legal standoff between the two media giants. The fallout from the failed merger has cast a shadow over what could have been a transformative consolidation in the media industry, with both companies now entangled in a complex legal battle.

The proposed merger between Zee Entertainment and Sony Group entities had received approval from the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on August 10, 2023. However, Sony Corporation’s abrupt termination of the agreement in January 2024 abruptly halted the merger process, leading to the current legal wrangling between the two corporate entities.

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