Reliance debunks Goenka's claims on undervaluing Zee

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 13, 2021

The proposed merger would have created substantial value for all, including shareholders

Breaking its silence over the ongoing spat between the promoters of Zee Entertainment and Invesco, Reliance Industries on Wednesday acknowledged that it offered to merge its media business with Zee but did not proceed due to differences between Invesco and Punit Goenka.

"In February/ March 2021, Invesco assisted Reliance in arranging direct discussions between our representatives and Punit Goenka, member of the founder family and Managing Director of Zee. We had made a broad proposal for merger of our media properties with Zee at fair valuations of Zee and all our properties. The valuations of Zee and our properties were arrived at based on the same parameters," Reliance Industries said in a statement.

The statement is in response to Goenka's note to the shareholders of Zee claiming that the offer from Reliance was undervalued. "In my considered view, the valuation attributed to the counterparty's merging entities was grossly inflated without any justification provided for the same, which would be prejudicial to shareholders of the company," Goenka had said on Tuesday.

Countering these claims, RIL said the proposal sought to harness the strengths of all the merging entities would have helped to create substantial value for all, including the shareholders of Zee.

"Reliance always endeavours to continue with the existing management of the investee companies and reward them for their performance. Accordingly, the proposal included continuation of Goenka as Managing Director and issue of ESOPs to the management, including Goenka. However, differences arose between Goenka and Invesco with respect to the requirement of the founding family to increase their stake by subscribing to preferential warrants. The investors seemed to be of the view that the founders could always increase their stake through market purchases," RIL said.

"At Reliance, we respect all founders and have never resorted to any hostile transactions. So, we did not proceed further," it added.

Published on October 13, 2021

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