Television

Zeel-Invesco Tussle: After Bombay HC, Zeel now approaches NCLAT

The investors have sought the removal of Zeel’s MD Punit Goenka

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New Delhi: Media and entertainment giant Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) has now approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the order passed by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Tuesday. The Tribunal had asked the Company to submit its response to the investors demand for calling an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

"The Company has moved to National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in accordance with the due process available under the law,” said ZEEL spokesperson.  The next hearing in the NCLT is on Thursday.

The development comes few days after Zeel filed a petition in the Bombay high court seeking to declare the requisition notice sent by Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC as “invalid”. "The Company continues to have full faith in the Indian judicial system and will take all the necessary steps that are in the best interests of all its shareholders," the statement added.

The Zeel boardroom tussle began on 11 September, when the Company’s top two investors- Invesco and OFI Global China Fund IIC which together hold an 18 per cent stake in the media company sent it a requisition notice calling for an EGM of the shareholders. The investors have sought the removal of Zeel’s sitting MD Punit Goenka, and long-standing directors and close associates of the Chandra family from the Board. The two independent directors Ashok Kurien and Manish Chokhani had submitted their resignations a day prior. Meanwhile, the

The investors had also sought the appointment of their own six nominees on the board of Zeel, which included Surendra Singh Sirohi, Naina Krishna Murthy, Rohan Dhamija, Aruna Sharma, Srinivasa Rao Addepalli, Gaurav Mehta as independent directors on the board for a term of up to five consecutive years. The notice was received by Zeel on 12 September, and it informed the stock exchanges on 13 September, adding that the appointments are subject to the approval of the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B).

However, Zeel refused to conduct the extraordinary general meeting (EGM), stating that the requisition notice was “illegal and invalid”. The Company further maintained that it will continue to take all the actions needed in the interest of the shareholders as per law. “The Board has arrived at this decision by referring to various non-compliances under multiple laws, including the Securities and Exchange Board of India guidelines, ministry of information and broadcasting guidelines, and key clauses under the Companies Act, and Competition Act, and after taking into account the interest of all the stakeholders of the company,” Zeel had said in a statement.

Meanwhile, on September 22, ZEEL also announced its proposed merger with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) which will create the country's largest media company. The merged entity, in which SPNI's parent company SPNI would infuse $1.575 billion, will be a public listed company in India. Punit Goenka was announced as the CEO and managing director of the new entity, with the promoter family being free to increase its holding from four per cent to 20 per cent over time. 

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