Invesco names Reliance as the potential partner for Zee

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 13, 2021

Punit Goenka (FILE PHOTO)   -  Businessline

The American investment fund said that the deal with Reliance was negotiated by Punit Goenka himself

Invesco Developing Markets Fund on Wednesday disclosed that Reliance Industries was interested in merging its media and entertainment business with Zee Entertainment. The American investment fund said that the deal with Reliance was negotiated by Punit Goenka himself.

“We wish to make clear that the potential transaction proposed by Reliance (the “Strategic Group” referenced but not disclosed in the October 12, 2021 communication by Zee) was negotiated by and between Reliance and Goenka and others associated with Zee’s promoter family. The role of Invesco, as Zee’s single largest shareholder, was to help facilitate that potential transaction and nothing more,” Invesco said in a press statement.

On Tuesday, Goenka had alleged that Invesco was pushing down the deal with a “strategic group”. Goenka had not named Reliance in his letter to the shareholders where he said that the deal with Reliance would have been negative for Zee shareholders.

Also read: Invesco wanted to merge Zee with another Indian entity: Goenka

“I was told that Invesco had already finalised the key commercial terms of the merger with the Strategic Group and there was no room to negotiate or even diligence the entities to be merged or the valuations of those entities. I made repeated requests to both Aroon Balani and Bhavtosh Vajpayee ( Invesco representatives) for details in relation to valuation of the entities involved in the merger and rationale for the commercial deal terms. However, all my efforts were rebuffed and I was not provided with any information or documents for the same,” Goenka said.

On Wednesday, Invesco said that it rejects in full the assertions made by Zee in its release on October 12, 2021.

“We specifically note that the implication that we as a shareholder, would seek out a transaction for Zee that is dilutive to the long-term interests of ordinary shareholders, including ourselves, simply defies logic. We have made various sincere efforts over the last two years to bring Zee back to good health. Discussions around strategic alignments have been just one part of this effort. Zee’s October 12 disclosure is yet another tactic to delay an EGM that will give shareholders their right under Indian law to vote for a slate of independent trustees and pave the way for a healthier future for Zee,” Invesco said.

Also read: Zee’s merger plan serves only the promoters: Invesco

This comes even as Goenka is pushing for a deal with Sony Pictures. Sony has agreed to merge with Zee allowing Goenka to continue as the CEO of the combined entity. Invesco on the other hand has moved a proposal to oust Goenka and the current board of Zee Entertainment.

Published on October 13, 2021

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