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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Dabur group head Mohit Burman defends open offer for control of Religare Enterprise

'Religare Enterprises is being run by a fiefdom,' Burman said, adding that there were no shareholder representatives on the board. 'We are surprised by the stand taken by the existing management after initially accepting our offer'

Our Special Correspondent Mumbai Published 16.11.23, 11:22 AM
Mohit Burman

Mohit Burman File picture

Dabur group chairman Mohit Burman has defended the open offer price of Rs 235 per share for Religare Enterprise — which has sparked a bitter battle for control over the financial services company.

Burman claimed in an interview with a news channel that the existing management led by chairperson Rashmi Saluja had initially welcomed the overture from the Burmans before everything turned sour.

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“Religare Enterprises is being run by a fiefdom,” Burman said, adding that there were no shareholder representatives on the board. “We are surprised by the stand taken by the existing management after initially accepting our offer.”

The battle took a bizarre turn on Tuesday as reports emerged that a social activist had filed a first information report (FIR) accusing Mohit and brother Gaurav Burman of acting in cahoots with a couple of match fixers involved in the Mahadev betting app scandal.

The Burmans have rubbished the charge and slammed the FIR as a move by certain vested interests to stymie their takeover of Religare Enterprise.

Burman claimed that the open offer price of Rs 235 per share was higher than the price of Rs 221 thrown up by Sebi’s formula.

The Dabur group will wait to secure all the regulatory approvals for its acquisition of control of Religare Enterprise while it pursues its open offer.

“We hope to reach an amicable settlement with the existing management,” he added.

Shares of REL closed 4.02 per cent lower at Rs 212.40 on the BSE.

Red flag

Meanwhile, proxy advisory firm InGovern Research has raised a red flag against Religare Enterprises and asserted that Rashmi Saluja had a “vested interest” in resisting the Burman bid for control.

InGovern said that in the last three to four years, the total valuation of options of REL and its subsidiary Care Health Insurance Limited (CARE) to Saluja amounted to over Rs 480 crore, which was in addition to compensation paid at REL.

According to the firm, shares of CARE were issued to Saluja through ESOPs, despite rejection from the IRDAI.

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