NCLAT issues notice to Zee Entertainment, refuses to stay merger

Zee Entertainment logo.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Friday issued notices to Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd (ZEEL) over the petitions filed by IDBI Bank and AXIS Finance against an NCLT order that approved the media company’s merger with Culver Max Entertainment.

However, a two-member NCLAT bench comprising Chairman Justice Ashok Bhushan and Member Arun Baroka declined to grant any stay over the merger process during the pendency of the hearing.

The appellate tribunal (NCLAT) has directed to list both petitions on January 8 for hearing, directing Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd to file a reply.

Also read | NCLT approves Zee-Sony merger, paves way for creation of $10 billion media giant

The private lender and the non-banking financial company have challenged the August 10 order of the Mumbai-bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which approved the ZEEL-Culver Max Entertainment merger, paving the way for the creation of the country’s largest media entity.

The NCLT, in its order, dismissed some applications moved by financial institutions opposing the move, including those of IDBI Trusteeship, IDBI Bank, Axis Finance, JC Flowers Asset Reconstruction Co, and Imax Corp.

This was challenged by IDBI and Axis Finance before the appellate tribunal NCLAT.

The matter was last listed on December 6 for hearing, however, it was adjourned to December 15 due to paucity of time.

In the last hearing on October 31, the matter was listed before a different bench, which transferred both petitions to the chairperson’s bench.

The bench had opined that since the chairperson-led bench is already hearing an insolvency appeal filed by IDBI Bank against ZEEL, it would be appropriate for the same bench to hear these petitions also.

The NCLAT bench led by the chairperson is also hearing another petition filed by IDBI that has challenged an NCLT order, which on May 19 rejected the lender’s plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the media major.

ZEEL is merging with Culver Max Entertainment (earlier known as Sony Pictures Networks India), for which the deadline is December 21.

The merger which will create the largest media conglomerate in the country has received all formalities from the regulatory bodies including bourses, CCI and NCLT.

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