Explainer: Why is Invesco entangled in a legal dispute with Indian TV giant Zee

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A guard stands subsequent to a banner of Zee tv exterior a movie studio in Mumbai, India, September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

NEW DELHI, Oct 9 (Reuters) – India’s Zee Leisure is locked in a authorized battle with one in every of its greatest international traders, Invesco, after it referred to as for ouster of the TV community’s CEO citing considerations round company governance.

Zee has stated it has tightened its governance processes. However the dispute comes at a fraught time for one in every of India’s greatest information and leisure TV teams because it just lately began merger talks with the native unit of Japan’s Sony Group Corp .

Here’s what the Invesco-Zee dispute is all about:


Invesco’s authorized filings reviewed by Reuters – which aren’t public – present it needs modifications at Zee in mild of company governance and monetary irregularities which have plagued the corporate, and have even been flagged by India’s market regulator.

Invesco’s Growing Markets Fund and its OFI World China Fund LLC personal a close to 18% stake in Zee. They’ve urged six new unbiased board members to be appointed and take away Zee’s present CEO, Punit Goenka.

Invesco requested Zee on Sept. 11 to name an “extraordinary basic assembly” of shareholders to think about its calls for.


Zee on Oct. 1 rejected Invesco’s request to revamp the board, saying that the transfer had authorized infirmities.

Invesco then took the battle to India’s corporations tribunal, the place it’s making an attempt to power Zee to name the assembly, saying Zee’s behaviour is “oppressive”. Zee has two weeks to reply, as per a tribunal order on Friday.

The Indian TV big says that it has applied corrective plans to deal with considerations raised by the market regulator and that it follows “highest requirements of governance”.

It stays unclear which manner the shareholders will vote if a gathering is known as, however Zee’s founder Subhash Chandra, father of CEO Goenka, has accused Invesco of plotting a hostile takeover.

“They wish to take over the corporate in opposition to Indian legal guidelines,” Chandra has stated. Invesco hasn’t commented on the allegation.


Whereas Invesco was pushing for a Zee shareholder assembly, the Indian big introduced its merger talks with Sony. The deal phrases say Goenka plans to proceed to be the CEO of the merged entity, which might be majority owned by Sony.

Invesco has in Indian tribunal hearings stated it is not in opposition to the Zee-Sony plan, however its submitting does criticize how the 2 entered into talks.

The Sony deal would permit Chandra’s household to lift their shareholding to as much as 20%, from 4% now, Invesco stated, including that it was “plainly an try to distract most of the people” and stall the convening of a shareholder meet.


In an uncommon public diatribe, Chandra made a prime-time TV look on Zee’s Hindi information channel this week.

“I urge Invesco to behave like a shareholder not just like the proprietor … You need a battle, then I’ll battle again,” Chandra stated, teary-eyed as he spoke about Zee’s journey in India.

Zee, which has for years supplied dozens of leisure channels and exhibits in lots of native languages in India, is a family identify. It’s now discovering assist from Bollywood.

“Zee which was first Indian channel promoted by Indian nationalist … (is) now hounded by American and Chinese language traders. Pray Zee Leisure stays in authentic Indian entrepreneur’s passionate fingers,” movie producer Boney Kapoor stated on Twitter.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy. Modifying by Gerry Doyle


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