zee-sony merger: Zee-Sony Row: Sony ‘disappointed’ after SIAC allows Zee to approach India tribunal over merger dispute

Sony Entertainment (India) has expressed disappointment over the Singapore International Arbitration Centre’s (SIAC) order allowing Zee Entertainment to approach Indian tribunal to enforce a $10 billion merger with Sony’s Indian unit.
The company said it was disappointed by the decision but it was a procedural one, ruling only whether Zee could pursue its application with the company law tribunal.

“We will continue to vigorously arbitrate the matter in Singapore in front of a full SIAC tribunal and pursue SPNI’s (Sony India) right to terminate the merger agreement and seek a termination fee and other remedies,” Reuters quoted the company as saying.

“We remain confident in the merits of our position in both Singapore and India.”

In its decision, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) allowed Zee Entertainment to approach Indian tribunal to enforce a $10 billion merger with Sony’s Indian unit.

Despite Sony’s decision to scrap the merger on January 22, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has permitted Zee Entertainment to approach the Indian tribunal to enforce the $10 billion merger with Sony’s Indian unit. Sony cited breaches of contract as the reason for terminating the merger, leading Zee to challenge these claims and seek an order from the Indian tribunal compelling Sony to fulfill its obligations for the merger’s completion.Zee rejected the claims and asked an Indian tribunal to order Sony to honour its obligations to complete the merger.The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) said it had no jurisdiction or authority to block Zee from approaching the Indian tribunal, adding the merger fell within the purview of the National Company Law Tribunal of India, Zee said in filings to Indian stock exchanges.

The Zee-Sony merger, in the works for two years, would have created an Indian TV juggernaut with more than 90 channels across sports, entertainment and news that would have competed with the likes of Walt Disney, and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance. In terminating the merger, Sony also cited alleged failure by the Indian media company to meet some financial terms of the deal, a dispute over compliance issues including disposal of some Russian assets and its $1.4 billion Disney cricket rights deal, Reuters reported last week.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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