Zee shares jump 10% after report Sony merger is being revived

The deal, announced more than two years ago, was perceived as crucial for the survival of the companies in a highly competitive market.

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Shares of India’s Zee Entertainment jumped more than 10% on Tuesday after a report that its $10 billion merger with Japanese tech giant Sony could be revived.

The Economic Times, an Indian news publication, reported on Tuesday that Zee had re-engaged with Sony in a last-ditch attempt to salvage the deal, which was officially called off last month.

Representatives from both sides have met at various locations across Mumbai as attempts to revive the deal has gathered steam recently, the ET reported.

Sony and Zee did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Shares of Sony were down more than 1% in Japan at the market close.

Sony first proposed to combine its India entertainment business with Zee in December 2021. The negotiations collapsed after more than two years.

The Japanese tech giant said last month that it terminated the transaction because “among other things, the closing conditions to the Merger were not satisfied” by the agreed closing date. Sony said it had engaged “in good faith” in discussions to get an extension to the closing date.

Zee at the time said that it denied all allegations made by Sony that it breached the merger agreement, adding that it would take “appropriate legal action.” Zee was seeking a termination fee of $90 million.

Last month, Zee sued Sony over the termination of the deal and urged the Japanese firm to revive the merger.

The union of Zee and Sony’s India subsidiary would have created a potential content and entertainment powerhouse in India. Zee owns several TV channels, a movie studio and a streaming service. Sony would have had access to Zee’s local content, giving it a bigger footing in the lucrative Indian entertainment market. Zee, which faces intense competition at home from players like Disney and Reliance Industries, would have benefitted from the backing of Sony.

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