“Far from merging, we are not even contemplating anything of this nature with Zee Telefilms,” snubs Jagjit Singh Kohli, CEO, ETC Networks. The strong rebuff comes in the reaction to the issue of media reports on an anticipated merger of Zee Telefilms and ETC Networks in near future, on the trail of its union with E-Connect India.
Explaining the situation, Vikas Gupta, Director, Finance, ETC Networks, says, “ETC is running a self-sufficing business with a clear focus. There is no sense to a merger plan of this kind.” In the current scene, Zee owns 51 per cent stake in ETC. The original promoters include Kohli and Yogesh Radhakrishnan and Yogesh Shah.
At a managerial level, there is substantial overlap between the two entities. For instance, along with his responsibilities at ETC, Radhakrishnan is also the Business Head for Zee Cinema and Zee Music. Also, Gupta himself holds the designation of Company Secretary and Sr VP, Finance at Zee TV. Citing these examples and refuting the point reported that the merger would mean an exit route for the original shareholders, Gupta says, “There is a very cordial relation between these entities and the effort will only be on how to take this relationship forward, not mar it.”
Sharing more on the E-Connect merger with ETC, he informs, “The merger process is partially complete and by mid-August, we’ll have the complete order in effect. The benefit here is that the E-Connect infrastructure can be utilised for ETC’s expansion plans, primarily for the south Indian channel by virtue of location of E-Connect.”
Coming back to the point of Zee-ETC merger, Kohli reiterates, “ETC’s plan ahead is of expansion with two new channels already on the anvil, and certainly not of a merger.”