Punit Goenka questions Invesco's silence on merger proposal with Reliance

Punit Goenka questions Invesco's silence on merger proposal with Reliance
Punit Goenka. Source: IANS

Mumbai, Oct 14 (IANS) In the ongoing Zee-Invesco tussle, the company's Managing Director and CEO Punit Goenka has now broken his silence charging the company's largest shareholder with hiding facts that prevented it from bringing facts about a merger proposal earlier.

"...on a personal note, I have some questions as well. Why didn't Invesco make its plans public earlier? Does good corporate governance only apply to corporates and not their institutional investors?" Goenka asked in a statement issued by his office.

The statement talks about a merger proposal brought forward by Invesco in February involving Reliance Industries, which was rejected by him as it would have resulted in loss of shareholder value to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore.

"During my briefing to the Board, I emphasised on the points pertaining to the proposal from Invesco. My attention was on the imbalance observed in the valuation and how it was not in the best interest of our shareholders. The only reason I did not agree to the proposal was because the shareholder value was getting compromised," Goenka said in his statement.

"I will withstand any amount of pressure to preserve ZEE's intrinsic value and ensure that nothing impacts the returns being delivered to all the shareholders," he added.

Goenka said silence may be the best answer at times, but he quickly realised that in certain situations it is better to break it at the right time, so that truth comes to the fore.

"The key reason for me to present the series of communications exchanged with Invesco to the Board of Directors of ZEE, was to bring the truth out in the interest of all our stakeholders," he said indicating that the questions he has raised and those by Invesco would be best answered by the judiciary.

"I acknowledge the stance that has been taken by Invesco, but communications pertaining to such proposals are always well-documented, and they speak to the contrary. I too have a lot of points to put across, but I firmly believe that there is a right time and place for it. Our lawyers will do the needful in the court of law, as deemed necessary, he said.

"My demeanour 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 that the Company continues to gain immense growth opportunities and become a stronger and more formidable player in the Media & Entertainment sector," Goenka's statement said.

"We should not let anyone impact the future of ZEE or diminish the shareholder value it has been consistently generating over the years," he added, hoping that this may be his first and last communication on this matter, so that focus is brought back on the value-creation journey at ZEE.