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Thursday, October 21, 2021

NCLAT asks NCLT to give ‘sufficient’ time to Zee Entertainment on Invesco demand

The NCLAT asked the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to provide “reasonable and sufficient opportunity” to ZEEL to reply to a plea by Invesco seeking a meeting of the company’s shareholders.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai |
October 8, 2021 3:52:41 am
ZEEL had on Wednesday moved the NCLAT seeking “more time” to file its reply regarding the petition filed by its shareholder Invesco for convening the extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday set aside an order by the NCLT that asked Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) to file a reply within two days on a plea by Invesco Developing Market Funds to hold an EGM.

The NCLAT asked the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to provide “reasonable and sufficient opportunity” to ZEEL to reply to a plea by Invesco seeking a meeting of the company’s shareholders.

It said the NCLT committed an “error” by not granting reasonable time to ZEEL to reply to Invesco’s plea. A two-member bench of the appellate tribunal said that it was a complete violation of NCLT rules and principles of natural justice and directed the Mumbai bench of the NCLT to proceed further after hearing both parties. “We are of the opinion that reasonable and sufficient opportunity should be given to the appellants for filing a reply,” the NCLAT order said.

ZEEL had on Wednesday moved the NCLAT seeking “more time” to file its reply regarding the petition filed by its shareholder Invesco for convening the extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

On Wednesday, Zee Chairman Emeritus Subhash Chandra asked Invesco to make an open offer and take over the company if it wants. “Don’t be adamant on calling EGM,” he had said. Calling it an illegal step by Invesco, he said, “This is insider trading, and a takeover.”

On September 13, Invesco Developing Markets Fund and its arm OFI Global China Fund LLC — together holding 17.88 per cent in ZEEL — called an EGM of the company to remove Punit Goenka, MD of ZEEL, and two independent directors from the board.

Invesco and OFI Global, the largest shareholders of ZEEL, have also proposed appointment of six of its own nominees on the company’s board. The proposed directors are Surendra Singh Sirohi, Naina Krishna Murthy, Rohan Dhamija, Aruna Sharma, Srinivasa Rao Addepalli and Gaurav Mehta.

However, on September 22, paving the way for creation of a media giant, Sony Pictures Networks India and ZEEL inked an exclusive and non-binding agreement to merge the two companies.

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