Sebi cautions Zeel for taking ‘considerable time’ to disclose Invesco notice

The regulator has asked Zeel to exercise due diligence in the timeliness of disclosures.

Mumbai: Post its board meeting on 11 November, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) has notified the Bombay Stock Exchange of a caution letter issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on 21 October. The regulator cautioned Zeel for taking “considerable time” to disclose the requisition notice sent by its shareholders Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC.

On 11 September, the two shareholders sent a notice to Zeel to call for an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to pass a resolution reconstituting the board. Sebi’s letter indicates that Zeel took more than the stipulated 24 hours to disclose the notice and began the verification exercise after nearly 36 hours.

“Considering the gravity of the contents of the letter, such verification mail could have been sent by the company at the start of the business day itself on 13 September while simultaneously initiating their independent process of verification of their records,” noted Sebi.

“Since the disclosure had bearing on on-going e-voting; due to overlapping resolutions in the letter and the AGM; as a good governance practice the company should have disclosed the said letter within 24 hours of receipt of the letter,” it added.

Sebi has cautioned the company to exercise due diligence in ensuring the timeliness of disclosures. The letter stated that “any such aberration in the future would be viewed seriously and appropriate action would be taken.”

Zeel and its majority shareholder Invesco are embroiled in a boardroom battle after the investor sought to remove long-standing members of the board and its managing director and chief executive officer Punit Goenka. The matter is currently being heard by the Bombay high court and the next hearing is scheduled for 29 November.

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