MUMBAI, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The chief of India's Zee
said on Thursday that the TV network's fight with top
shareholder Invesco is to preserve the company's future
and ensure that it emerges as a more formidable player in the
country's media industry.
Invesco holds nearly 18% of Zee Entertainment Enterprises'
shares via two funds and is pushing for an overhaul of top
management and the board of directors ahead of its planned
merger with the local unit of Japan's Sony Group Corp.
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% in the merged company from their
current 4% in Zee.
Invesco has called the manner in which the Zee founders'
stake in the new company would be raised "opaque" and said it
would disadvantage other shareholders.
The two parties are locked in a bitter legal tussle and have
been lashing out at each other almost daily.
"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," Zee CEO
Punit Goenka said, making his first public statement in the
dispute with Invesco.
On Wednesday, Invesco said it had facilitated talks
between India's Reliance Industries and Zee earlier
this year for a possible merger.
But it also dismissed Zee's claims that its opposition to
the current Sony deal "runs contrary to the very deal Invesco
Zee's founder and Goenka's father Subhash Chandra has
accused Invesco of plotting a hostile takeover and the media
company has said that the U.S. firm's demands were not motivated
by concerns about corporate governance or business.
On Thursday, Goenka said he did not agree to the deal with
Reliance as shareholder value would be compromised.
"My attention was on the imbalance observed in the valuation
and how it was not in the best interest of our shareholders," he
Invesco did not immediately respond to a request for
It has previously said it would not pursue a deal that would
be bad for shareholders.
(Reporting by Nupur Anand in Mumbai and Sankalp Phartiyal in
New Delhi; editing by Jason Neely)