SAM, Trilegal advise Sony and Zee as CCI clears merger

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has cleared the proposed Sony-ZEE merger on 4 October 2022 subject to certain modifications. Trilegal advised ZEE Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) and Essel Group in securing the approval, while Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (SAM) advised Sony Pictures Networks India and Bangla Entertainment.

The merger is expected to create the largest entertainment media player in India and Sony-ZEE will combine their linear networks, digital assets, production operations and program libraries.

The size of the deal and the possibility of unfair market dominance prompted the CCI to issue a show-cause notice seeking an explanation as to why a detailed investigation in Phase II should not be undertaken.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas instructed senior advocate Amit Sibal while Trilegal instructed senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan for the hearing before the CCI on the response to the show-cause notice.

FTI Consulting (along with its subsidiary Compass Lexecon) acted as the economic adviser to the parties for the CCI filing.

The team representing ZEE was led by partner and national head – competition law Nisha Kaur Uberoi and partner Gautam Chawla. They were assisted by counsel Radhika Seth, senior associates Ankush Walia and Swati Sharma, and associates Akrathi Shetty, Ishan Arora, Vrinda Nagpal, Madhav Kapoor, Prerana De, Vasudha Verma, Akanshha Agarwal and Devika Dhawan.

The SAM competition team was led by partners Aparna Mehra and Rohan Arora, together with senior associates Krithika Ramesh and Ritika Sood, and associates Karan Arora, Ishaan Chakrabarti, and Sai Divkanwar Singh. Special adviser Pranav Satyam also supported the team, while partners Gunjan Shah and Karun Prakash led the transaction team.

The FTI team consisted of economists Justin Coombs, Karthik Balisagar, Kadambari Prasad, Avinash Mehrotra, Ishani Vora, Padma Todi, Tushar Bhatia and Jin Kiat Tan.

Trilegal declined to comment on the development. “We do not comment on client-related matters,” Trilegal chief marketing officer Archana Venkat said in reply to India Business Law Journal’s request for comment. SAM did not respond to IBLJ requests for comment.