New Delhi, Nov 28 (IANS) The fate of the planned merger between Sony Group Corp.’s India unit and Zee Entertainment (NS: ZEE ) Enterprises Ltd may be known as early as next week, according to people familiar with the matter, as the companies face a looming deadline to resolve their standoff or scuttle a long-awaited deal to create a $10 billion media giant, media reports said.Unless the two sides can agree on who’ll lead the merged entity and give the final touches to the merger, Sony is likely to send a letter next week to Zee saying the stipulated demands for the merger couldn’t be met, said the people, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public, Bloomberg reported.
That could be the death knell for the deal since there won’t be enough time to tie all the loose ends by the formal December 21 deadline, the people said.
Zee is insisting that its Chief Executive Officer Punit Goenka — also its founder’s son — will helm the new entity, as agreed in the pact signed in 2021, while Sony is wary of his appointment given a regulatory probe against Goenka, the people added, Bloomberg reported. This has created an eleventh-hour tussle in the two-year-old merger plan that has already seen a fair share of drama and delays.
A Zee representative, without commenting on the leadership issue, said in an emailed response that the company was "actively engaged" toward the timely completion of all prerequisites for the deal. Zee had already completed most of them and was in touch with Sony "on a regular basis", he said. Sony’s representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment, the report said
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