NCLT currently has two petitions before it: one by Zee and the other by a Zee shareholder, Mad Men Film Ventures.Both have sought enforcement of the merger between the Indian broadcaster and Sony after the Japanese company called it off on Jan 22.
The Mumbai tribunal has admitted Mad Men’s plea, while it is yet to take up Zee’s petition. In a regulatory filing on Sunday, Zee said: “The Singapore International Arbitration Centre said it has no jurisdiction or authority to block Zee from approaching the NCLT as the merger falls within the purview of the local tribunal.”
Sony’s application in Singapore was filed under the emergency arbitration procedure, in which an emergency arbitrator is appointed to hear applications for urgent relief prior to the constitution of the tribunal. Even though the emergency arbitrator has rejected Sony’s application for an interim relief, the Japanese major could continue pursuing arbitration under normal procedure.
Sony called off the merger with Zee, citing unfulfilled deal conditions. It then immediately invoked arbitration, seeking emergency reliefs from the Singapore tribunal. It also sought a $90-million termination fee from the Indian broadcaster owing to purported breaches of the deal pact. Zee contested Sony’s claims in Singapore and simultaneously moved the NCLT asking the tribunal to order Sony to honour its obligations to complete the merger. NCLT had approved the Zee-Sony merger in August last year.