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With the favourable order, the two companies are likely to start the integration process by early next week. Image Credit: REUTERS

Mumbai: India’s company law tribunal on Thursday approved a merger between Sony Group’s South Asian unit and Zee Entertainment Enterprises, clearing the way for the creation of a media behemoth.

The deal aimed at creating a $10 billion Indian media giant had received the necessary regulatory approvals from the country’s stock exchanges, as well as the antitrust regulator last year. But the proposed merger then faced legal challenges from creditors before the National Company Law Tribunal, where last of approvals were sought.

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The merger was initially held up by a courtroom feud between Zee’s founders and its largest shareholder, then subsequently by an insolvency case filed against Zee that was halted in February.

Zee’s founder Subhash Chandra and his son former CEO Punit Goenka remain ousted from holding key positions in the company after the country’s capital market regulator imposed a ban on the duo, alleging that they siphoned off funds.

The pair denied any wrongdoing and have appealed the decision, but the order will likely stall the merger further as one of the deal’s requirements was for Goenka to remain managing director and CEO of the merged entity.