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India’s Zee accuses Invesco of double standards in Sony merger

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NEW DELHI – India’s Zee said Tuesday that major shareholder Invesco’s opposition to a proposed merger of the broadcaster with Sony’s unit in India is hypocritical because the US investment firm launched a deal with similar terms earlier this year. anus.

Invesco’s “stance … goes against the same deal that Invesco was proposing a few months ago,” Zee Entertainment Enterprises said in a statement, revealing that proposition for the first time.

In February, Invesco, which owns about 18% of Zee through two funds, attempted to combine the media company with “certain entities owned by a large Indian group” in a move that would have allowed Zee CEO Punit Goenka , run the merged company, Zee. said.

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That deal would also have given Zee’s founding family a higher stake of up to 8% in the new company, a move Invesco has opposed in the impending merger with Sony.

Zee, headed by Mumbai, said Invesco was pushing for the deal even though his management team found that the value of the Indian group’s entities could have risen by at least 100 billion rupees ($ 1, 33 billion).

Invesco, which is now calling for Goenka’s removal and a renewal of the board, previously wrote several letters acknowledging his “reputation, experience and ability as a professional” and also voted for his re-election as CEO in September 2020, Zee said.

Invesco has also proposed a review of Zee’s board of directors. Zee said Invesco’s lawsuits were not motivated by a desire to serve the company’s business or the public interest.

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Invesco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Invesco’s opposition clouds the prospects for the Sony deal, which caused Zee’s share price to spike when it was announced in September. As part of the deal, Sony India would control 53% of the merged company.

Invesco has objected to some terms of the Sony deal that give Zee’s founding family, including Goenka, an option to increase their stake to 20% from the current 4% in a “opaque” way that would hurt other shareholders.

($ 1 = 75.4330 Indian rupees) (Report by Sankalp Phartiyal; Edited by Edmund Blair, Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio)

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