Sony: Indian founder Zee says key investor wants to take over company
NEW DELHI, October 6 (Reuters) – The founder of India’s Zee made a rare appearance on the media company’s Hindi news channel on Wednesday night, accusing institutional investor Invesco of plotting a hostile takeover bid.
“I urge Invesco to behave like a shareholder and not like an owner… they want to take over this company in defiance of Indian laws,” said Subhash Chandra, founder of Zee TV in the early 1990s.
Chandra does not currently hold any official position at Zee, but her son Puneet Goenka is the CEO and the family owns 3.99% of the company.
And his comments come as Zee prepares for a merger with Sony Group’s Indian unit in a deal that would keep Goenka at the helm of what would become the country’s largest broadcaster.
Invesco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC, which together represent 17.88% of Zee’s shares, want the company’s CEO Goenka to leave and the board of directors to be reorganized.
The funds filed a lawsuit in India’s corporate court to pressure Zee to call an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders, a request that the company’s board of directors rejected citing a lack of approval by the capital markets regulator and the federal government.
Invesco and OFI filed a lawsuit after Zee announced it was planning to merge with Sony.
On Wednesday, Chandra with tears in her eyes made an emotional appeal to Indian shareholders in Zee and the federal government to save the media company.
“Something has changed at Invesco … either it’s a Chinese company that fears no one or I don’t know,” Chandra said.
“I will also urge the board of Zee to tell Invesco that we agree to call an EGM, but you tell us what your deal is. We will take the Invesco deal and the Sony deal to the shareholders and let them decide. . “
Separately, Zee approached a corporate appeals tribunal to oppose an order from a lower court asking it to file responses in the Invesco case by October 7, Reuters reported. (Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)