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ZEE’s top investor seeks EGM to remove CEO Punit Goenka

An Extraordinary General Meeting has been called by shareholders of Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC, which owns 17.88% of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), to remove Punit Goenka as director of ZEEL. Goenka is the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of the media company.

Punit Goenka is the son of the Essel Group founder and chairman Subhash Chandra and is the managing director and chief executive officer of ZEEL.

On the other hand, Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC are Zee Entertainment’s (ZEE’s) largest shareholders. The meeting has been called not just to remove Goenka but also Manish Chokhani and Ashok Kurien as directors of the firm, the company mentioned in a regulatory filing on Monday (September 13).

Ashok Kurien partnered with media tycoon Subhash Chandra in order to set up ZEE. Manish Chokhani, on the other hand, is the director of investment company Enam Holdings.

The information about the removal meeting was confirmed and informed by ZEE to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) about the September 11 notice issued by Invesco on late Monday night.

The statement to the stock exchange mentioned the funds asked for the appointment of six independent directors, including Surendra Singh Sirohi, Naina Krishna Murthy, Rohan Dhamija, Aruna Sharma, Srinivasa Rao Addepalli, and Gaurav Mehta, on the board of Zee.

Subhash Chandra and his family own only 4% of the company due to a defaulting debt. In August 2021, Chandra said that only 8.8% of his overall debt remains to be settled, with 91% of the dues being paid in an open letter.

In Chandra’s words: “I am happy to report that we have come out of the financial stress situation by settling 91.2% of our total debt to 43 lenders in 110 accounts. 88.3% amount has been paid, while the remaining 2.9% is in the process of being paid. We are making all the required efforts to settle the remaining 8.8% of our total debt.”

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