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IDBI Bank opposes Zee-Sony merger

IDBI Bank Ltd. has informed the National Company Law Tribunal of its intention to file objections against the merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. with Culver Max Entertainment Pvt.—previously known as Sony Pictures Network India. The court has allowed Zee Entertainment’s application despite these objections. The matter would be heard next on Jan. 12.

Zee Entertainment, in its exchange filing published on Wednesday, disclosed that an application has been filed by IDBI Bank in the insolvency court claiming to be one of the creditors of the company. The application has been filed for the resolution of a claim of around Rs 150 crore. The bank’s claim comes from a debt service agreement between Siti Networks Ltd., which is part of the Essel Group, and IDBI Bank. Under this agreement, Zee acted as a guarantor for a loan that IDBI Bank gave to Siti, according to the filing.

The company anticipates no financial implications from the above dispute. In the same proceedings, Axis Finance Ltd. and IndusInd Bank Ltd. have also approached the court to object to the proposed merger. Axis has also sought the assistance of the court in obtaining the necessary scheme documents so that appropriate objections can be filed. Axis Finance had earlier raised its concerns over a Rs 150 crore debt owed by three Essel Group companies—Primat Infrapower, Multiventures Pvt., and Cyquator Media Services Pvt.—before the NCLT as well as the Bombay High Court. IndusInd Bank, too, had dragged Zee to insolvency court earlier this year over an Rs 89 crore debt arising out of the same debt service agreement. Bloomberg

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