The merger agreement between Zed Entertainment and Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited, dated December 21, 2021, was supposed to be completed in two years, but it's unlikely to be completed by that date this year. Sony has been approached by Zed about extending the contract. The procedure could take another three to four months to finish. "Sony is evaluating the request," a Sony spokeswoman said in an email response to Business Today's inquiries.
According to Elara Capital, the negotiations between the two parties might be concluded over the next 3-4 weeks, with the delisting/relisting procedure taking another 6-8 weeks. "As a result, we believe the merged company could be listed by March or April 2024," Elara Capital wrote in a research. Experts believe that the lengthening of the merger timeframe between Zed and Sony is a favorable sign and is consistent with the expectation that the merger will proceed.
"As per our assessment, extension in the merger timeline won't have a major regulatory hurdle, as the NCLT approval is not time-bound, and this is only a mutually agreed date between two parties subject to shareholder and Board approvals; further appeals filed by Axis and other lenders in NCLAT too won't negatively impact merger, as NCLT approval is without any conditions," Karan Taurani, vice president at Elara Capital, said.
According to the source, both parties may be in negotiations over the CEO problem, with Sony perhaps refusing to name Mr Punit Goenka as CEO of the amalgamated business until the outcome of the SEBI probe is known.
"We continue to believe that the merger will proceed without Mr Punit, unless the SEBI outcome is favorable to him." Furthermore, the outcome of the SEBI probe could take 8-12 months, during which time Sony may decide to select a new CEO," according to the article.