Zee Entertainment founder Subhash Chandra’s family will lift their stake in the media house to 26% from 4% currently, it was reported days after a merger of the company with Sony’s India unit collapsed. Japan’s Sony terminated a $10 billion merger deal with Zee last week after two years of negotiations. Sony sought $90 million in termination fees from Zee for alleged breaches of the terms of the agreement. Zee has denied the same.

Zee Entertainment chairman Subhash Chandra.

Subhas Chandra told Mint, “I have advised my immediate and extended family to increase their shareholding in Zee… We eventually want to go back to 26%, but it will take time.”

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Subhash Chandra set up Zee in 1992 and is now chairman emeritus at Zee.

“Yes, we will need a lot of money. But we are clear that we are not going to raise funds from the outside. We don’t want debt,” he said.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against Sony Group for calling off the merger filing a petition against Sony for terminating the deal. Zee asserted that Sony Group firm Culver Max and BEPL (Bangla Entertainment Pvt Ltd) “are in default of their obligations” by backing out of the merger.

Both companies have not detailed on the merger conditions that were unfulfilled but have been at odds over Zee’s proposal for its CEO Punit Goenka to lead the combined company. Subhash Chandra said, “Punit is the right person to run the company and there is no problem with Zee.”

“I’ve also approached my younger son, Amit Goenka, a successful NRI and he has agreed to invest in Zee instead of other companies,” he said, adding that as a promoter he was “seriously considering” filing a criminal case against Sony.

“If I were the CEO of the company, I would have sued them already,” he said against the Japanese company’s “criminal design” to start the merger process and then withdraw.



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