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Invesco is trying to take over ZEEL in clandestine manner: Dr Subhash Chandra on ZEEL-Sony merger


NEW DELHI: Dr Subhash Chandra, Zee Group Chairman, on Wednesday questioned Invesco’s malicious intent and alleged that it is trying to acquire the ZEEL group through illegal manners.

Dr Chandra also stated that his son Punit Goenka, who will continue as the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ZEEL and the newly merged entity, can be removed if the Board members or the shareholders desire so.

In an exclusive interview with Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary’s prime time show DNA, founder of ZEEL Dr Chandra said, “Invesco is not the real owner of the ZEE Group. They are just one of the investors.”

Dr Chandra further alleged that Invesco is trying to take control of the company in a clandestine manner by exploiting legal loopholes. 

“Someone in Invesco is indulging in wrong practices. This is not the same Invesco which it was once. May be there is some Chinese connection to it. I have spoken to legal experts and they have told me that what they (Invesco) are doing is illegal. They could be indulging in insider trading also,’’ he said.

Dr Chandra reiterated that “The Invesco is not the owner, 2.5 lakh share-holders are the real owner of ZEEL Group, 90 crore Indian viewers are the real owners of the ZEEL Group today.

Throughout the show, Dr Subhash Chandra posed some very tough questions to Invesco, which is believed to be acting at someone’s behest – and all fingers point to China!

Giving a piece of advice to Invesco, DR Chandra said, “They should behave like a shareholder, not like its owner.’’ He added that “a mammoth organization like ZEEL cannot be run by Invesco. It is the duty of the board members to expose illegal requisition.”

Alleging that Invesco and its promoters are trying to create false impressions and narratives about the ZEE Group, Dr Chandra said, “They deals in dollars, we deal in Rupees. They have money and power. This is a clear case of a hostile takeover. The law of the land should not allow this to happen.”

“You may be an 18% shareholder but you are not the real owner. Don’t behave like one,” he said.

It is the duty of the ZEEL board members to expose this illegal requisition, he said. “I don’t think the takeover will ever happen. If you want to takeover, offer 75% to the shareholders. We will welcome that,” he said in the prime time show DNA.

“But don’t try to do it by illegal means. It will not happen. The law of this country will not let it happen,’’ he added.

Dr Chandra further said that there are several programmes running on OTT platforms today. “Families can’t sit and watch them together. Only Zee Network provides the content which everyone can sit with their families comfortably and watch,” he said.

“If they (Invesco) want to fight, we will give them one. I trust the people will not let Zee down,” Dr Chandra said.

At one point of time, Dr Subhash Chandra got. “It was destiny. It was just meant to be. And that’s how Zee happened. I could not repeat the feat today, even if I wanted to,” he said.

Dr Chandra admitted that “we have made mistakes along the way. And I have paid for it. I was even shown black badges, offered garland of shoes. But I have always welcomed criticism positively.”

For the past few days, especially after the mega-merger announcement between ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), some media houses have been publishing baseless and hollow reports to fight a losing battle against ZEEL, and especially against Punit Goenka, who will continue as the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ZEEL.

Some media reports have falsely cited Invesco’s version to take on ZEEL MD & CEO Punit Goenka, but in vain. In today’s (October 6) DNA Exclusive, Dr Subhash Chandra addressed all those issues.

The big interview came a day after Dr Subhash Chandra, the Founder, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, himself came forward to clear the air on Invesco, ZEEL and Punit Goenka. The facts-laden statement by Dr Subhash Chandra left no room for any confusion and left publishers of false and baseless reports red-faced.

Commenting on the entire matter, Dr Subhash Chandra, had earlier said, “No matter who runs ZEEL but the company, to which I’ve and many of my friends have given their blood and sweat for the past 30 years, should be in the hands of someone under whose leadership the organisation should prosper and shareholders should be benefitted since I don’t have any profit or loss associated with this.”

Also, taking on the media reports, Dr Chandra added, “I wanted to give an interview to my friends at CNBC and MoneyControl but they won’t take it neither run it because it seems although he is a friend of mine but has a vested interest in the entire matter; I don’t know whatever it is but I wish God give him good sense and wisdom.”

Stating about the Invesco, Dr Chandra said, “Invesco is a good investor but in this case of ZEEL they are not revealing that what they will do after taking ZEEL, and in whose hands management will go?”

“You want to remove Punit Goenka? Okay, fine but what next? Have you done any deal with someone? The 6 directors given by them – what’s their background? Do they have any relation with any particular company that wants to take over? Hence, Invesco should come out transparently and openly, and let the shareholders decide – whether they want to take the deal of Invesco or want to go with Sony’s deal, “Dr Chandra said posing some really tough questions to Invesco.

On the regulators, Dr Chandra said, “The first and prime responsibility of the regulators is to protect the interest minority shareholders. So, they should ask Invesco that it should come out transparently. And, regulators should make sure that minority shareholders have both the things in hand to decide whether to vote for Invesco or Sony’s deal with ZEEL.”



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