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Sony ends $10B merger with India's Zee

Jan 22, 2024
Illustration of a television with static leaking out of it as if it were a liquid.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sony has called off its $10 billion merger with Zee Entertainment Enterprises, the Mumbai-based media giant.

Why it matters: The deal's collapse puts both companies in precarious positions amid increased competition in media, including a potential combination of Disney and Reliance Industries, Kerry writes.

Driving the news: Sony said Monday that the closing date and merger conditions were not met by the deadline, the two-year mark of the deal first being announced.

  • "Although we engaged in good faith discussions to extend the end date under the merger cooperation agreement, we were unable to agree upon an extension by the January 21 deadline," Sony said in a separate statement.
  • "We remain committed to growing our presence in this vibrant and fast-growing market and delivering world-class entertainment to Indian audiences," the company added.

Details: Sony is seeking a $90 million termination fee due to alleged breaches of the agreement that Zee "categorically denies," Zee said in a letter to Indian stock exchanges Monday.

  • Zee said it is evaluating its options, which could include legal action.
  • Bloomberg previously reported that Sony was planning to cancel the merger over disagreements on who would lead the combined company. Zee said in its statement that its CEO, Punit Goenka, "was agreeable to step down."
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