Mr. Ravi Gupta, CEO, B4U, said Zee's claim of taking 15 per cent stake were unfounded. B4U had in December 2000 gone for a private placement of around 8 per cent. Of this, around 5 per cent were sold to a Ketan Parekh company. As the other promoters -- Kisore Lulla, Gokul Binani and L N Mittal -- who together hold the remaining stake in the company, have not divested.
Therefore, Zee cannot, by any means, hold a 15 per cent stake in B4U, Gupta claimed. Gupta said the channel would be open to a strategic alliance with Zee, but negotiations would have to be transparent.
However, the possibility of any of the promoters pledging their shares with the Zee group to raise funds cannot be discounted. There are instances when a corporate, while accepting pledged shares, demands a transfer of ownership for the same shares, pending the repayment of loans.
A B Corp spokesperson said the company was considering contesting Zee's claims of having taken a 28.5 per cent stake.
The company had said Zee Network had advanced funds for acquisition of stakes in media and entertainment companies as part of long-term strategic direction. The group claims to have lent Rs 220 crore to Ketan Parekh-promoted Triumph International for acquiring 28.5 per cent stake in AB Corp and 15 per cent stake in B4U.
Meanwhile, Zee Telefilms said it was in the process of inducting independent and eminent professionals on the company's board in keeping with corporate governance practices, the statement said. The Zee Telefilms scrip was frozen on the lower circuit of 15.96 at Rs 84.50 on the BSE.