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ZEEL-Invesco case: Reliance confirms merger proposal with Zee included continuation of Punit Goenka as MD & CEO


Another turning point has arrived in the case of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) and Invesco and the latter seems to be falling into its own trap. Invesco had said in its statement that it had tried to get Zee merged with Reliance. Now Reliance has also issued a statement in this matter, saying that it had tried to merge its media properties with Zee, but the stake could not be agreed upon. 
However, Reliance has confirmed that it was set to retain Punit Goenka as MD and CEO after the merger. 
Reliance also issued a clarification on Invesco’s statement. “We regret our being drawn into the dispute between Zee and Invesco. The reports in the media are not accurate,” a media statement by Reliance Industries Limited.
“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 Mr Goenka as Managing Director and issue of ESOPs to management, including Mr Goenka,” the statement added.
Notably, Reliance’s statement also confirms what ZEEL said about the continuation of Punit Goenka as Managing Director & CEO of ZEEL.
Also, people in the know of the matter say that 6 names for Board of Directors suggested by Invesco are related to Reliance in some way or the other and this is a matter which now needs to be investigated by SEBI and other agencies.
“In February/ March 2021, Invesco assisted Reliance in arranging discussions directly between our representatives and Mr 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. The proposal sought to harness the strengths of all the merging entities and would have helped to create substantial value for all, including the shareholders of Zee,” the statement from Reliance read.
“However, differences arose between Mr Goenka and Invesco with respect to a requirement of the founding family for increasing 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. At Reliance, we respect all founders and have never resorted to any hostile transactions. So,we did not proceed further,” the statement concluded.
FULL TEXT: MEDIA STATEMENT by Reliance Industries Limited
“We regret our being drawn into the dispute between Zee and Invesco. The reports in the media are not accurate.
In February/ March 2021, Invesco assisted Reliance in arranging discussions directly between our representatives and Mr 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. The proposal sought to harness the strengths of all the merging entities and 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 Mr Goenka as Managing Director and issue of ESOPs to management, including Mr Goenka.
However, differences arose between Mr Goenka and Invesco with respect to a requirement of the founding family for increasing 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.
At Reliance, we respect all founders and have never resorted to any hostile transactions. So,we did not proceed further.”


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