The proposed merger between Indian powerhouse Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Sony‘s Indian TV businesses, which has been nearly two years in the making, is likely to be delayed further, Sony said in a filing on Friday. The companies cleared a key regulatory hurdle in August, but there are other matters pending, especially that of leadership. The original plan had foreseen that Zee’s CEO Punit Goenka would be its captain, while Sony would own a 51% controlling stake. However, Goenka was banned from managing any listed company in India following an interim regulatory report that accused him and Zee founder Subhash Chandra of running the company for their own benefit and “siphoning off” money.
Goenka appealed the decision with India’s Securities Appellate Tribunal, who heard his plea on Wednesday but has reserved a verdict for at least a week.
On Friday, Sony said: “Both companies continue to proceed with the necessary procedures to complete the transaction. Although the transaction was previously expected to close by the end of the first half of the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2024, based on the latest progress, it is currently expected to close in the months ahead. Sony continues to assess the impact of the transaction on its consolidated financial results.”
The combined companies have the potential to create a giant in broadcast TV — a sector that is still paramount in India — and are valued at $10 billion.
U.K./U.S. producer Lightbox, founded by Oscar winner Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire,” “Searching for Sugar Man”) and Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn (“LA 92,” “Tina”) is in production on “Bad Host: Hunting the Couchsurfing Predator,” a three-part documentary series for Sky Documentaries.
Based on the hit podcast “Verified,” the series tells the story of how a group of young women, unknown to each other, who were all victims of a predator who lured them to stay with him using Couchsurfing, a website where travellers can find trustworthy hosts to put them up in their homes for free. Tracing each other through the internet, the young women united and battled for six years, often in the face of indifference in their home countries, to bring him to justice.
The series is being produced in association with Scripps and Fifth Season, who will also handle worldwide distribution rights and will launch the series to buyers at the upcoming Mipcom market.