Invesco, which along with OFI Global China Fund LLC owns 17.88% of Zee’s shares, has been highly critical of Zee’s governance and financial dealings. Earlier this week, the company published an open letter to Zee’s shareholders where it called on them to implement a revamped executive board and oust CEO Puneet Goenka.
The company also called the proposed merger with Sony Pictures Networks India “no more than camouflage on the part of Zee to divert and distract from the primary issues before the company.”
Zee however has now responded to that letter, accusing Invesco of hypocrisy, adding in a statement that this position “runs contrary to the very deal Invesco was proposing itself a few months ago.”
Invesco earlier this year plotted a merger between Zee and “certain entities owned by a large Indian group”. This merger would have seen Goenka remain as CEO, while increasing the company’s founding family an increased stake in the new-look Zee.
Zee added that Invesco’s demands are not motivated by a desire to serve the company’s business or the public interest, and instead are fueled by an antipathy towards giving Sony India a 53% controlling stake in the merged company.
Invesco has said that one of its major concerns surrounding the merger is an option that gives the founding family of Zee the ability to increase their stake from 4% to 20% via “wholly opaque” means.
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