You are here: Home » Companies » News
Business Standard

Zee-Invesco saga hots up as Reliance name is dragged in

The fight between Zee and Invesco is showing no signs of abating. The two parties have dragged each other to court. And, in a new twist, Reliance Industries has also been drawn to the scene

Zee Group | Punit Goenka | Invesco

Krishna Veera Vanamali  |  New Delhi 

The dispute between Zee Entertainment and its largest shareholder, Invesco, which holds an 18% stake, took a turn for the worse on October 13 after revealed that it had facilitated merger talks between Zee and Reliance Industries in February and March this year. Reliance owns the listed Network18 Media and Investments, which has interests across television, digital content, print and film production. The revelation comes just as Zee has signed a non-binding deal to merge with Sony India.

Reliance Industries has confirmed that arranged discussions with Zee MD & CEO and founding family member which led to Reliance proposing a merger between its media assets and Zee at what it called fair valuations. The proposal also included continuation of as managing director and issue of employee stock options to the Zee management, including Goenka. However, according to Reliance, the deal fell apart as did not agree to Goenka’s requirement for increasing his family’s stake by subscribing to preferential warrants. The promoter shareholding in Zee has come down to 3.99%. Reliance in its statement said it did not go ahead with the deal out of respect for all founders, stressing that it had never resorted to hostile transactions.

Zee, meanwhile, has accused Invesco of resorting to double standards by opposing its merger with Sony India, which contains terms similar to those discussed with Reliance. It has claimed that the deal pushed by Invesco with Reliance undervalued the company and if it had gone ahead, Zee shareholders would have suffered a loss of at least Rs 10,000 crore.

Zee has also highlighted that Invesco voted in favour of the reappointment of as the MD and CEO as recently as September 2020. Zee has said that Invesco’s actions over the past few weeks have been motivated by factors not related to the company’s business or concerns around corporate governance.

While Invesco, the American fund, welcomed the proposed deal with Sony, it said the transaction terms were not in the best interest of all shareholders and would benefit only the promoters.

Zee maintained that the deal will not be dilutive to any shareholders of the company.

But where did this bitter public tussle begin? For that, we need to take a look at Invesco’s demands.

Invesco has sought changes at Zee’s top management and board of directors citing alleged corporate governance issues and financial irregularities flagged even by Sebi.

On September 11, it asked Zee to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of shareholders to remove MD and CEO Punit Goenka and appoint six new independent directors named by it.

On October 1, Zee’s board of directors rejected Invesco’s call for an EGM, citing lack of approvals from market regulator Sebi and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Zee founder and Punit Goenka’s father, Subhash Chandra, accused Invesco of trying to take over the firm in a “clandestine” manner.

That marked the start of a legal battle.

Invesco approached the National Company Law Tribunal, seeking to force Zee to call the meeting. The NCLT asked Zee to file a reply to Invesco’s petition by October 22. At the same time, Zee moved the Bombay High Court asking it to declare Invesco’s request for the EGM illegal and invalid.

This has created a parallel line of litigation for the same issue as the NCLT is also hearing the matter.

A lengthy legal battle is likely to unfold regardless of how the Bombay High Court treats Zee’s suit for dismissal of Invesco’s demand.

Amid a war of words between Zee and Invesco, minority investors seem to have become the collateral damage, as they were been kept in the loop about acquisition talks with Reliance until now.

With the Zee board refusing to convene an EGM, legal experts have opined that Invesco could ask the NCLT to invoke certain provisions of the Act and order the EGM.

Even if Invesco succeeds in forcing Zee to convene an EGM, it remains to be seen if it can attract enough support from other shareholders to execute the changes it wants.


Business Standard Digital

Business Standard Digital Monthly Subscription
Complete access to the premium product
Convenient - Pay as you go
Pay using Amex/Master/VISA Credit Cards and VISA Debit Cards Only
Auto renewed (subject to your card issuer's permission)
Cancel any time in the future
Requires personal information

What you get?


  • Unlimited access to all the content on any device through browser or app.
  • Exclusive content, features, opinions and comment – hand-picked by our editors, just for you.
  • Pick 5 of your favourite companies. Get a daily email with all the news updates on them.
  • Track the industry of your choice with a daily newsletter specific to that industry.
  • Stay on top of your investments. Track stock prices in your portfolio.
  • 18 years of archival data.


  • The product is a monthly auto renewal product.
  • Cancellation Policy: You can cancel any time in the future without assigning any reasons, but 48 hours prior to your card being charged for renewal. We do not offer any refunds.
  • To cancel, communicate from your registered email id and send the email with the cancellation request to Include your contact number for speedy action. Requests mailed to any other ID will not be acknowledged or actioned upon.


Business Standard Digital
Subscribe Now and get 12 months Free

Business Standard Premium Digital - 12 Months + 12 Months Free
Subscribe for 12 months and get 12 months free.
Single Seamless Sign-up to Business Standard Digital
Convenient - Once a year payment
Pay using an instrument of your choice -all Credit and Debit Cards, Net Banking, Payment Wallets, and UPI
Exclusive Invite to select Business Standard events

What you get


  • Unlimited access to all content on any device through browser or app.
  • Exclusive content, features, opinions and comment - hand-picked by our editors, just for you.
  • Pick 5 of your favourite companies. Get a daily email with all the news updates on them.
  • Track the industry of your choice with a daily newsletter specific to that industry.
  • Stay on top of your investments. Track stock prices in your portfolio.


  • The monthly duration product is an auto renewal based product. Once subscribed, subject to your card issuer's permission we will charge your card/ payment instrument each month automatically and renew your subscription.
  • In the Annual duration product we offer both an auto renewal based product and a non auto renewal based product.
  • We do not Refund.
  • No Questions asked Cancellation Policy.
  • You can cancel future renewals anytime including immediately upon subscribing but 48 hours before your next renewal date.
  • Subject to the above, self cancel by visiting the "Manage My Account“ section after signing in OR Send an email request to from your registered email address and by quoting your mobile number.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, October 15 2021. 13:28 IST