Punit Goenka, MD and CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, has expressed disappointment over the Zee-Invesco dispute. He said that it pains him to see this ‘relationship going sour today and the unfortunate circumstances that we are all facing’. However, Goenka acknowledged that Invesco, the largest shareholder of Zee, has been an extremely strong support to Zee.
The US firm Invesco, on September 11, had sent a requisition notice to the company’s board seeking an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the shareholders seeking the removal of Goenka and two other directors from the board. It also wanted to induct six new independent directors of its choice on the board.
Invesco raised issues such as corporate governance lapses after ZEE announced a potential merger with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN). The investor said it will firmly oppose any strategic deal structure that unfairly rewards select shareholders, such as the promoter family, at the expense of ordinary shareholders. It should be noted that Invesco had proposed a similar deal with an Indian entity to Zee earlier in February this year.
“Why didn’t Invesco make its plans public earlier? Does good corporate governance only apply to corporates and not their institutional investors?” Goenka asked. “We will ensure that no one maligns the intrinsic value of this company for their own benefit, and I continue to pursue this in the best interests of all our shareholders, and at immense personal costs.”
Goenka said his demeanor is not to indulge in an ill-natured fight. “Such battles are best handled by legal experts. All I am contending for is to preserve the future of this company, and not my position. This fight is to ensure the company continues to gain immense growth opportunities and become a stronger and more formidable player in the media & entertainment sector.”
The MD and CEO of Zee said silence may be the best answer at times, but he has realized that in certain situations it is better to break it at the right time, so that truth comes to the fore. “I have always been extremely transparent in all my communications. I truly hope that this will be my first and last communication on this matter, so that we can focus on our value-creation journey at Zee,” he said. “I have strived very hard to build the company into this successful entertainment powerhouse that it has become today. This success is a result of the hard work sown in by thousands of people every single day across our offices.”
Goenka said as a proud parent of this institution that they have nurtured together, it has only made him proud to note the interest from leading companies across the globe, to partner with Zee and be part of their extraordinary future. Furthermore, he said that all he wants is a better tomorrow for Zee – one that is filled with higher returns, value for shareholders and immense growth opportunities for the company and its people.