NCLAT Delays Zee-Sony Merger Hearing Amid Axis Finance Appeal
In a significant twist to the Zee-Sony merger saga, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has decided to postpone the crucial hearing until October 13. The delay comes in response to a compelling appeal lodged by Axis Finance, a prominent player in the financial sector. This appeal is set to determine the future of the merger between Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd (ZEEL) and Culver Max Entertainment, formerly known as Sony Pictures Networks India.
Another intriguing development in this case is the impending hearing of a plea by IDBI Bank, a private lender. IDBI Bank has also raised concerns about the merger’s approval, granted on August 10, 2023, by the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Both of these hearings are set to transpire on the same day, adding more complexity to the already convoluted merger proceedings.
During the recent proceedings, legal representatives for Axis Finance made a plea to adjourn the matter to Friday, the day when IDBI Bank’s petition is scheduled for review. The legal team representing ZEEL, including prominent advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Arun Kathpalia, expressed reservations about Axis Finance’s involvement and vehemently opposed any immediate decisions.
The primary contention in this scenario was whether Axis Finance had the legal standing, or locus standi, to file such a petition. The objections to the adjournment primarily stemmed from the fact that IDBI Bank’s case was grounded in an entirely different set of facts. Despite these objections, the appellate tribunal decided to delay the hearing without issuing any formal notice regarding Axis Finance’s plea.
This delay marks a significant development in the ongoing Zee-Sony merger case, which, if approved, would result in the formation of the largest media conglomerate in the country. In its prior decision on August 10, 2023, the NCLT approved the proposed merger, dismissing several applications from financial institutions that opposed the move. These financial institutions included IDBI Trusteeship, IDBI Bank, Axis Finance, JC Flowers Asset Reconstruction Co, and Imax Corp.
The case continues to draw significant attention as stakeholders eagerly await the outcome of the appeals and the potential impact they could have on the future of the Zee-Sony merger. Stay tuned for further updates as the saga unfolds.
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