Invesco moves NCLT over ZEEL general meeting

Invesco moves NCLT over extraordinary general meeting of ZEEL

The investment firm has also sought the appointment of six of its own nominees on the board of the company

Invesco Developing Markets Fund along with OFI Global China Fund have moved the National Company Law Tribunal against media major Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) for not calling an extraordinary general meeting of the company.

Invesco Developing Markets Fund (formerly Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund) along with OFI Global China Fund LLC - which together hold 17.88 per cent in ZEEL, had earlier called for an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders seeking the removal of Managing Director Punit Goenka.

While, ZEEL, which had last week announced its merger with rival Sony Picture Networks India to create the largest media firm in the country, termed the steps by its minority shareholders as "impulsive or premature". The matter is listed before the Mumbai Bench of the NCLT for hearing on Thursday, industry insiders said.

Also Read | Zee Entertainment investors renew board reshuffle demand: Report

ZEEL declined to comment on the development and said it remains committed to acting within the framework of the law.

"The Board of the Company remains committed to act within the framework of law and is focused towards enhancing the Company’s growth and shareholder value. It is in the process of taking the required steps within the statutory period," said a ZEEL spokesperson.

“The Company does not wish to comment on any impulsive or premature steps taken by Invesco Developing Markets Funds and OFI Global China Fund, LLC,” he further said.

Earlier this month, the two invest firms, had called an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders seeking to remove Punit Goenka along with two other independent directors - Manish Chokhani and Ashok Kurien, both of whom resigned later.

The investment firm has also sought the appointment of six of its own nominees on the board of the company - Surendra Singh Sirohi, Naina Krishna Murthy, Rohan Dhamija, Aruna Sharma, Srinivasa Rao Addepalli and Gaurav Mehta. Goenka is the son of ZEE founder and Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra.

Essel Group currently owns 4 per cent stake in the company. On September 22, ZEEL and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) had announced their merger, which will create the country’s largest media company.

The merged entity, in which SPNI’s parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment would infuse $1.575 billion, will be a publicly listed company in India and have a majority 52.93 per cent stake.

Moreover, the move will also provide a lifeline to ZEEL Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer Punit Goenka.

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