Zee founder family to eventually lift stake to 26%, according to reports
Zee Entertainment founder Subhash Chandra's family will eventually lift their stake in the media house to 26% from 4% currently, Mint reported on Monday, days after a merger with Sony's India unit collapsed.
Japan's Sony terminated a $10 billion merger deal with the Indian broadcaster last week after two years of negotiations, seeking $90 million in termination fees from Zee for alleged breaches of the terms of the agreement, which Zee has denied.
"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," Chandra told Mint, a business daily, in an interview.
Chandra, who set up Zee in 1992 and is often dubbed the "Father of Indian Television", 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," Chandra said.
While Sony and Zee have not elaborated on which merger conditions were unfulfilled, the firms had been at odds over Zee's proposal for its CEO Punit Goenka to lead the combined company, after Goenka became the subject of an investigation by India's market regulator.
Chandra, who is Goenka's father, told Mint "Punit is the right person to run the company and there is no problem with Zee."
The merger collapse also comes as competition heats up in the industry, with rivals billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance and Walt Disney holding merger talks for their India media assets.