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Zee Entertainment backs out from $1.4 bn deal with Disney Star

Zee Entertainment backs out from $1.4 bn deal with Disney Star
  • Zee Entertainment has backed out from a $ 1.4 billion licensing agreement with Disney Star for the TV broadcast right for cricket matches.
  • This is reportedly a fallout of collapse of its merger deal with Sony.
  • Sony Corporation had on Monday announced the termination of the $ 10 billion merger.

Zee Entertainment has backed out from a $ 1.4 billion licensing agreement with Disney Star for the TV broadcast right for cricket matches as a fallout of collapse of its merger deal with Sony, according to industry sources. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), which has already missed the first instalment of around $ 200 million, will not move ahead, industry sources told PTI.

The instalment to be paid to Disney Star was part of the $ 1.5 billion investment committed by Sony Group after its merger with ZEEL, said another industry source while confirming the development.

Sony Corporation had on Monday announced the termination of the $ 10 billion merger agreement with ZEEL, while seeking $ 90 million for breach of conditions besides initiating arbitration.

As per the merger agreement between ZEEL and Sony, the Japanese entity was supposed to invest $ 1.575 billion in the merged entity and have a majority stake.

There were no immediate comments from ZEEL over the development.

Three days after Sony called off the deal, ZEEL MD & CEO Punit Goenka addressed a townhall meeting of around 3,000 employees across the globe, in which he asked them to move forward and chase new opportunities.

"Our industry is witnessing rapid changes, and these winds of change are giving us a new shape. We have to mould ourselves to be well-positioned in order to capitalise on the opportunities coming our way. We have been leaders over the last 3 decades and have delivered value to our stakeholders, year on year," he said.

On August 30, 2022, ZEEL had announced entering into a strategic licensing agreement with Disney Star for television broadcasting rights of the ICC Men's and Under-19 global events for a period of four years.

Disney Star will continue to exclusively stream all ICC tournaments through its digital platform Disney+ Hotstar, a joint statement had said.

This was done with the in-principle approval from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Disney Star bagged the broadcast rights of all ICC events for four years from 2024 to 2027 for the Indian market from the sport's global governing body.

As per the agreement, ZEEL was supposed to have exclusive television rights for ICC men's events, including the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, which will be played in 2024 and 2026, ICC Men's Champions Trophy (2025), and the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup (2027), along with key ICC U-19 events, it said.

ZEEL on Wednesday approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to get Sony to honour a $ 10 billion merger deal.

Sony had resisted the demand by Subhash Chandra's son Punit Goenka, who was investigated by Sebi over fraud allegations, to stay on after the merger.

It has also initiated appropriate legal actions to contest the claims of $ 90 million (Rs 748.5 crore) filed by Sony Group before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

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