Television

Invesco to sell up to 7.8 per cent stake in Zeel

Invesco earlier extended support to Zee-Sony merger, and decided not to pursue EGM.

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Mumbai: After extending support to the Zee-Sony merger, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd's (Zeel) single-largest shareholder Invesco on Wednesday said that it will divest up to 7.8 per cent stake worth Rs 2,200 crore in the media conglomerate via a block deal on 7 April.

The investment firm said three funds managed by its developing markets investment team, including Invesco, will sell up to 7.8 per cent of the share capital of Zeel to align exposures to the firm with other funds managed by the team.

Invesco further said after the proposed sale, the three funds managed by its developing markets investment team will continue to own in aggregate at least 11 per cent of Zeel.

“It underscores the investment team’s belief that the Sony deal in its current form has great potential for Zeel shareholders. The three funds are launching a bookbuild transaction on Wednesday to sell the shares,” Invesco said in a statement.

“The purpose of this transaction is to align these funds’ exposures to Zee with other funds managed by the investment team and to achieve an aggregate ownership position in the company that is more in line with the investment team’s portfolio construction approach,” it added.

Last month, Invesco extended support to the Zee-Sony merger deal and decided not to pursue the call for an EGM of Zeel to remove MD and CEO Punit Goenka and two independent directors.The company however maintained that if the deal is not completed as currently proposed, Invesco retains the right to requisition a fresh EGM.

In December 2021, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Zeel signed definitive agreement for merger of Zeel into SPNI following the conclusion of an exclusive negotiation period during which both parties conducted mutual due diligence.

At that time Invesco along with OFI Global China Fund LLC, which together hold about 17.9 per cent stake in Zeel, had opposed the deal.

When the merger deal was announced in September 2021, the two networks had stated that Sony would invest $1.575 billion and hold 52.93 per cent stake in the merged entity and Zee the remaining 47.07 per cent.

Under the terms of the definitive agreements, SPNI will have a cash balance of $1.5 billion at closing, including through infusion by the current shareholders of SPNI and the promoter founders of Zeel.

Zee chief executive Punit Goenka will lead the combined company as its MD and CEO.

The merged entity will become India’s second-largest entertainment network by revenue with 75 TV channels along with two video streaming services — Zee5 and SonyLIV. It will also house two film studios — Zee Studios and Sony Pictures Films India and a digital content studio (Studio NXT).

When it is completed Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc will indirectly hold a majority 50.86 per cent of the combined company and the promoters (founders) of Zeel will hold 3.99 per cent, while the other Ze shareholders will hold a 45.15 per cent stake.

In July 2019, Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group had roped in existing investor Invesco Oppenheimer to raise its stake in flagship Zee Entertainment Enterprises by another 11 per cent for Rs 4,224 crore.

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