Talks of a merger between India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Japan’s Sony’s Indian arm have stalled after a clash on which company’s top executive will run the merged entity, the Mint business daily reported on Friday.
Sony is pushing for its Indian operations managing director N.P. Singh to head the merged company, as Zee’s candidate, managing director Punit Goenka faces an ongoing investigation, the report said, citing people aware of the matter.
Zee and Sony India did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
A tribunal last month lifted a ban on Goenka holding board positions in Zee Group companies, but said that he will have to cooperate with any investigation by India’s markets regulator.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had in June alleged that Goenka and Zee Group Chairman Subhash Chandra were actively involved in diverting company funds.
Both Goenka and Chandra have denied any wrongdoing.
A failure to reach an agreement on leadership by December 21 may derail the merger, the Mint report said.
In September, Sony had announced a delay in the merger, saying it expected completion “within the next few months”.
Last month, rival Disney was reported by Bloomberg to be nearing a deal to sell its India operations to Reliance Industries.
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