Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. said a potential merger with the Indian unit of Sony Group Corp. was the best deal on the table, but India’s largest private sector television network is open to other bidders even though it faces resistance from major shareholders.
“This is the best deal for shareholders at this point, as we are interested in maximizing values for all of our stakeholders, including shareholders, society and the consuming public,” the company’s president said on Wednesday. , R. Gopalan, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, adding that the company is open to “consider if there is another deal on the table.”
Gopalan’s comments show that the battle between the company and its biggest investors is about to escalate. Zee has previously filed a lawsuit asking the Bombay High Court to declare illegal and invalid a notice by major investors Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC calling for a shareholders meeting. Invesco and OFI have requested court intervention after the entertainment company refused to hold the meeting.
The funds want the ouster of Zee board members, including CEO Punit Goenka, who is leading exclusive 90-day merger talks with Sony. About 53% of the merged entity would be owned by Sony and the rest by Zee owners, according to the non-binding agreement signed last month.
The new shareholder will inject capital so that it has around $ 1.58 billion in funds at closing, and Sony would appoint the majority of the board.
“As a board of directors, we have made decisions based on applicable land laws and what we believe is good for shareholders,” said Gopalan. “For now, the due diligence process has already started and is progressing rapidly. submit it to shareholders for approval.
The merged entity will review bids for the broadcast rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament which will be auctioned in December. “Sony is very good at sports. It is a natural choice for us to bid for this, ”said Gopalan.
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