India: Invesco Oppenheimer reiterates commitment to Zee stake deal

Subhash Chandra Chairman, Essel Group & ZEE

Private equity fund Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, which has agreed to pick up an 11% stake in Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises, reiterated its commitment to the deal in a statement on Tuesday.

Justin Leverenz, Portfolio Manager of the Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, said: “The Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund (the Fund), under the guidance of Portfolio Manager Justin Leverenz, has been an investor in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (Zee) for well over a decade… Our analysis gives us confidence that the underlying businesses at Zee remain structurally sound, and offer an opportunity for meaningful growth over the years to come.

“Furthermore,” the statement added, “we believe in management’s ability to achieve growth and deliver good financial returns to the shareholders of Zee. We are working closely with the Essel Group to complete all the conditions prescribed in the share purchase agreement dated 31 July 2019 for the purchase of an 11% stake in Zee (including obtaining the necessary approvals), and are targeting to close the deal as soon as practicably possible.‎”

Last month, the Essel group agreed to sell an 11% stake in ZEEL to the fund, as the controlling shareholders of the broadcaster attempt to pay off debts before a September deadline. Invesco agreed to pay 400 a share for Zee, representing a 10.7% premium to ZEEL’s closing price of 361.45 on BSE that day.

The group may, however, need to find a second investor willing to bet on ZEEL with the debt deadline looming. Essel group needs to pay lenders a total of 7,500 crore by 30 September.

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