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regular-article-logo Monday, 17 June 2024

As Sony merger fallout takes toll, Zee Entertainment forms panel to win back shareholder trust

The homegrown media firm has seen its market value slide after Sony called off a $10-billion merger last month and market regulator Sebi reportedly found financial discrepancies in its accounts

Our Special Correspondent Mumbai Published 24.02.24, 09:42 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd on Friday said it was setting up an independent advisory committee to prevent the further erosion of investor wealth following “speculations’’ and “negative public opinion’’.

The homegrown media firm has seen its market value slide after Sony called off a $10-billion merger last month and market regulator Sebi reportedly found financial discrepancies in its accounts.

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In a regulatory filing, Zee disclosed its board “has approved to constitute an independent advisory committee that will enable it to review and take cognizance of the widespread circulation of misinformation, market rumours and speculation that has led to the formation of negative public opinion about the company and consequent erosion of investor wealth’’.

The panel will be presided by Satish Chandra, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court. Apart from Chandra, it will have two independent directors of the company — Uttam Prakash Agarwal and P.V. R. Murthy — as members.

According to Zee, the committee will independently provide guidance on the measures and future course of action that the board is required to take to protect the interests of all stakeholders of the company.

“The board will seek expert guidance of the committee on the aforementioned matters from time to time,” it added.

While the announcement came after market hours, the shares of Zee on Friday settled in positive territory. It ended at Rs 173.30 on the BSE, marking a gain of 3.09 per cent or Rs 5.20 over the last close.

Sony Group recently said it will pursue other opportunities in India’s entertainment sector. In a conference call after its results, the multinational said India is a very promising market and has great growth potential.

Amid reports of both companies looking to salvage the merger, Zee has denied such developments and has already tapped the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to give effect to the merger.

After its quarterly results, Zee managing director and CEO Punit Goenka said the company will review its entire business portfolio to see which businesses will add maximum value.

“We need what to focus on, and what we don’t need to focus on going forward,’’ Goenka said in an earnings call while saying Zee will follow a three-pronged strategy of frugality, optimisation and sharp focus on quality content.

In the February 16-23 week, Zee Entertainment shares declined 5.5 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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