DIS

India's Zee Entertainment seeks to revive $10 bln merger with Sony, ET reports

Credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

Adds Zee's statement from exchange filing in paragraph 4, updates with closing levels

BENGALURU, Feb 20 (Reuters) - India's Zee Entertainment is making a final attempt to restart discussions with Japan's Sony Group 6758.T to revive their $10 billion merger deal that was scrapped on Jan. 22, Indian business daily Economic Times reported on Tuesday, citing people aware of the matter.

Representatives from both parties have been working to salvage the deal, with efforts to revive the merger gaining momentum over the past two weeks, the report added.

However, there is a chance that the discussions might fail as significant differences remain unresolved and both sides are standing firm on their positions, it said.

Zee denied being involved in any such negotiationsin an exchange filing. Sony did not immediately reply to Reuters' request for comment.

Sony terminated the merger with Zee due to certain unresolved "closing conditions" and leadership disputes, including disagreements over CEO Punit Goenka's involvement in regulatory issues.

Zee is expected to notify Sony within the next 24-48 hours regarding its willingness to accept all terms and conditions and proceed with the merger, the newspaper said.

If not, Sony is expected to withdraw its original merger application with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by the end of this week, as agreed upon when the merger was initially proposed.

The Zee-Sony merger, in the works for two years, would have created an Indian television juggernaut with more than 90 channels across sports, entertainment and news that would have competed with the likes of Walt Disney DIS.N, and billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries RELI.NS.

Shares of Zee closed about 8% higher on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Navamya Ganesh Acharya and Hritam Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K and Janane Venkatraman)

((Navamya.GaneshAcharya@thomsonreuters.com; +91 8805175330 ;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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