Ahead of its merger with Culver Max Entertainment (Sony Pictures Network India), Zee Entertainment Enterprises has already shelled out Rs 176 crore on merger-related expenses, according to a media report quoting the company’s regulatory filing.
The amount is significantly higher than the Rs 7.3 crore it spent in the previous fiscal year.
ZEEL also reportedly said that it is in the process of applying to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the transfer of TV channel licences obtained by the company to Sony.
The company’s annual report also stated that it has settled certain objection applications and insolvency proceedings filed by operational creditors and bankers for Rs 223 crore. It reportedly added that Rs 196 crore has already been provided and an additional Rs 27 crore has been recorded as an exceptional item.
The Zee-Sony merged entity, which will create a $10 billion media and entertainment powerhouse, could come to fruition in January next year, according to industry insiders. Currently, the merger has been fraught by ambiguity about who will lead the entity -- Sony's NP Singh or Zee's Punit Goenka.
“We are in active engagement with Sony on various parts of the entire scheme to be finally implemented after all the approvals that we have got,” Goenka said on being asked about the ongoing speculations over the merger and the recent reports of Sony wanting its own executive to take charge of the merged entity and reports of alleged stalling of the merger.
In October, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) paved the way for Punit Goenka to continue as the Managing Director of the merged Zee-Sony entity while setting aside the SEBI order barring him from holding any key positions in the company. The move, said experts, could expedite the merger process as the company is now alleviated from the legal uncertainties that clouded it.