(Bloomberg) -- Sony Group Corp.’s Indian unit signed a non-binding deal to buy the country’s largest publicly-traded television network Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., a move that came after Zee shareholders sought removal of key officials.
About 53% of the merged entity would be owned by Sony India shareholders and the rest by Zee’s holders, the companies said in a joint statement Wednesday. Sony shareholders will inject capital into its unit so that it will have about $1.58 billion of funds at closing. Majority of the board will be nominated by Sony.
The deal provides an exclusive negotiation period of 90 days during which Zee and Sony will conduct mutual diligence and negotiate definitive, binding agreements. Zee Chief Executive Officer Punit Goenka, whose removal shareholders have sought, will lead the entity.
The announcement adds another twist to the fate of the beleagured Zee after Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC, which together hold about 17.9% stake in the network, sought an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders last week to oust Goenka along with two board members. The removal was seen as a move to end the sway of founder Subhash Chandra’s family over the company founded in 1992, and which was once Rupert Murdoch’s Indian partner. The two board members resigned with immediate effect.
(Updates with proposed shareholdings in second paragraph.)
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