Reviving the $10 billion merger: Sony and Zee entertainment enterprises in talks

Recent developments suggest a potential revival of the $10 billion merger between Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) and Sony Group, a deal that Sony had called off on January 22. Notably, Punit Goenka, the Managing Director and CEO of ZEEL, has reportedly acquiesced to Sony’s condition that he would not assume the role of CEO in the merged entity. Instead, he may serve as an adviser at best, aligning with Sony’s stance.

The Economic Times report outlines that Zee is expected to communicate its acceptance or rejection of the terms and conditions within the next 24 to 48 hours. In the event of Zee’s disagreement, Sony is poised to withdraw its initial application from the National Company Law Tribunal by the end of the week. The unfolding negotiations hold the key to whether this strategic collaboration, initially terminated by Sony in January, can be resurrected.


The backstory involves Sony terminating the merger agreement with ZEEL, citing the latter’s failure to meet merger conditions. Additionally, Sony initiated arbitration proceedings, seeking a termination fee of approximately Rs 748.5 crore. In response, ZEEL filed a petition before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), urging Sony to implement the merger. Legal actions were also initiated by ZEEL to counter Sony Group’s claims before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

The NCLT’s approval of the merger scheme on August 10, 2023, marked a significant milestone, creating the potential for a $10 billion media entity. The combined entity, if the merger materializes, would wield control over 70 TV channels, two video streaming services (ZEE5 and Sony LIV), and two film studios (Zee Studios and Sony Pictures Films India), solidifying its status as the country’s largest entertainment network.

As the 24 to 48-hour timeframe unfolds, the industry watches with anticipation to see whether Sony and ZEEL can navigate the intricacies, reigniting prospects for a mega-merger that could reshape the Indian media and entertainment landscape. It is worth monitoring the Zee entertainment enterprises limited stock which has gained ~4% in today’s trade.