Zee Entertainment’s largest shareholder had approached the company’s CEO Punit Goenka in February with a deal to merge the company with a “large Indian group”, Bloomberg Quint reported yesterday.
The shareholder in question is Invesco Developing Markets Fund which, along with OFI Global China Fund, owns 17.88 percent of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. The disclosure was made in a letter written by Goenka to the company’s board of directors.
The revelations come after Invesco had of Goenka – who is also the son of Zee’s founder Subhash Chandra – as CEO during an annual general meeting in September.
reported today that the “large Indian group” was Reliance Industries. This was also confirmed by , which quoted a statement issued by Invesco following Goenka’s letter.
“We wish to make clear that the potential transaction proposed by Reliance (the ‘Strategic Group’ referenced but not disclosed in the Oct. 12 2021 communication by Zee) was negotiated by and between Reliance and Mr Goenka and others associated with Zee’s promoter family,” Invesco’s statement said. “The role of Invesco, as Zee’s single largest shareholder, was to help facilitate that potential transaction and nothing more.”
The merger proposal by Invesco's representatives involved Goenka continuing as managing director and CEO of the merged entity. The proposal also sought to take Goenka's family shareholding to 7-8 percent from the current 3.99 percent.
Expressing apprehensions, Goenka allegedly refused the proposal.
In September, Invesco had also called for the removal of directors Manish Chokhani and Ashok Kurien. Both Chokhani and Kurien subsequently resigned from the board citing personal reasons.