Richest Asian Gautam Adani’s Group increased its stake in New Delhi Television Ltd popularly known as NDTV to more than 37 percent through an open offer, making it the biggest shareholder of India’s most popular news organizations.
Earlier the Adani group was looking to buy another 26 percent stake in NDTV, however, the open offer attracted bids for just 53 lakh shares, translating to an 8.3 percent hold in the company. The previous week, Adani group acquired a stake of about 29.2 percent in NDTV by purchasing a company backed by the television network founders, Pranoy Roy and Radhika Roy, who currently hold about 32.3 percent stake in NDTV.
NDTV is one of the popular Indian news media companies specializing in broadcast and digital news publications. The company is known to be a legacy brand that pioneered independent news broadcasting in India and is credited for launching the first 24×7 news channel and the first-of-its-kind modern lifestyle channel in the country. Founded in 1988, NDTV is headquartered in New Delhi.
One of the fastest-growing business group’s takeovers of NDTV has raised concerns among some journalists that one of the country’s prominent media houses reputed for fearless journalism could come under threat. Meanwhile, Ravish Kumar, NDTV’s founder entity and a senior executive editor resigned soon after Adani’s acquisition of NDTV.
Gautam Adani, the Adani Group Chairman, said that he sees the acquisition of NDTV as a responsibility rather than a typical business opportunity, adding further that he has invited Prannoy Roy to continue in leading the organization as the acquisition is getting completed. The corporate investors tendered 39 lakh shares, while retail investors offered to sell over 7,06,000 shares according to the in-open offer that concluded Monday. The details of the participants were not known.
The ports-to-energy conglomerate Adani Group had offered to buy NDTV shares at ₹ 294 per share in its open offer, which represents a 25 percent discount to its Monday’s closing price.
Shriram Subramanian, MD of Bengaluru-based InGovern Research Services, a corporate governance advisory company while a fully successful open offer would have portrayed that Adani would have owned a majority stake in NDTV, however, the 37.4 percent stake currently still catapults him as the single largest shareholder.
Mr. Shriram added, “With the resulting shareholding, they (Adani) can still seek control of the board by reconstituting it. They can propose their own set of directors and removal of current directors.”
Sometime late August, Gautam Adani announced his plans of acquiring a majority stake in NDTV but faced strong resistance internally from the news network that pointed to the billionaire’s bid being executed without any consent of the NDTV founders.
Adani Group, founded by billionaire Gautam Adani in 1988, is an Indian multinational conglomerate headquartered in Ahmedabad and has more than 1,00,000 employees directly or indirectly across the world. The diverse businesses of the Adani Group include electric power generation and transmission, renewable energy, port management, natural gas, airport operations, mining, food processing, and infrastructure. The NDTV acquisition will further boost the penetration of the group’s presence in the news and the electronic media industry. Adani Group has been focused on building business in all the modern and important industrial sectors which have ample scope for innovation, development, and expansion in the domestic as well as international geographies.