Invesco says it facilitated tie-up talks between Reliance and Zee


MUMBAI: Invesco said on Wednesday that it facilitated the India-to-India talks Dependence Industries and Zee Entertainment earlier this year in a possible link, revealing for the first time that the richest man in India, Mukesh Ambani, he was interested in the television giant.
But the US investment firm rejected the allegations of Zee that he was resorting to double standards in opposing a possible merger with Sony GroupIndia unit with terms similar to those discussed with Reliance.
Invesco’s response is the latest in a growing public dispute in which the US investor, who owns 18% of Zee, calls for a renewal of Zee’s board and the removal of CEO Punit Goenka over alleged lapses of corporate governance.
Zee said Tuesday that Invesco’s opposition to the proposed Sony deal “runs counter to the same deal that Invesco was proposing” with Reliance and that the US firm’s demands were not motivated by concerns about the company’s corporate governance or business. company.
Zee has accused Invesco of planning a hostile takeover of the company, rejected requests to convene a shareholders’ meeting to vote on the demands of US investors and said it has tightened its processes.
The two sides are now caught in a bitter legal and public dispute in which they attack each other almost daily. Invesco has asked an Indian court to order Zee to convene the meeting, and Zee has two weeks to respond.
While Zee’s comments on Tuesday did not mention which entity Invesco had tried to negotiate with, the US firm’s statement revealed for the first time that it was Reliance, the giant conglomerate run by Mukesh Ambani.
“Invesco’s role, as Zee’s largest shareholder, was to help facilitate that potential transaction and nothing else,” Invesco said.
“… the implication that we as shareholders would seek a transaction for Zee that dilutes the long-term interests of ordinary shareholders, including us, simply defies logic.”
Reliance and Zee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Reliance has a vast Indian media presence through its Network18 business which includes VH1, Nickelodeon, MTV and a variety of other local language channels, as well as Firstpost and Moneycontrol news portals and CNN news channels. -News18 and CNBC TV18.
But Zee’s statement on Tuesday said it had rejected Reliance’s settlement offer over valuation concerns and that “it would result in a loss to the company’s stakeholders.”
Invesco has alleged that the financial irregularities that have affected Zee and that have been pointed out by the Indian market regulator, were related to the Goenka family.
In an open letter to Zee shareholders this week, Invesco opposed the initial terms of Sony’s deal which they said would give Zee’s founding family an option to increase their stake to 20%, from 4%, through methods that remain “totally opaque.”
In recent weeks, Zee, who is a household name on the Indian television and film landscape, has found support from Bollywood stars, who have said on social media that they hope the crisis will end soon for the group.

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