Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) is in the final stages of completing the due diligence for its proposed merger with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), a subsidiary of Japan’s Sony Corp, as the December 22 deadline draws close. Both companies had entered into a 90-day due diligence process on September 22, following the announcement of a merger.
“The due diligence process, which was spread across cities, would be completed ahead of the deadline. This was a large and tedious process started in September, considering both the companies have a presence across the country, and is now nearing closure,” a source close to the development said.
Following the completion of the ongoing assessments, the firms will sign binding agreements and approvals, and seek ZEEL shareholders’ approvals. For the merger, the firms would also require regulatory clearances including that from the Competition Commission of India, Sebi and the National Company Law Tribunal, among others.
In September, ZEEL and SPNI had signed a non-binding term-sheet to combine the companies’ linear networks, digital assets, production operations and programme libraries. SPNI, as part of the deal, would also infuse $1.58 billion in the merged entity.
The merged firm will be a publicly-listed company, with ZEEL’s Punit Goenka continuing as its MD and CEO for five years. The merger will create the largest media entertainment player in the country, with combined standalone revenues of about $2 billion, Goenka had said earlier.
The move comes at a time when Invesco, which together with its subsidiary OFI Global China Fund, hold a 17.88% stake in ZEEL, had moved courts alleging corporate governance issues in the company.