The Adani Group announced on Tuesday that it would buy a majority stake in NDTV, a leading Indian news organization, in a seemingly hostile takeover as billionaire Gautam Adani seeks to expand his media ambitions.
AMG Media Networks, Adani’s unit, indirectly took control of around 29.18% stake in New Delhi Television by executing options on a loan granted to founders and promoters of NDTV over a decade ago . It is also launching an offer to buy another 26% stake in the news agency, the Indian conglomerate said. The open offer is expected to be worth $61.77 million.
Founded three decades ago, NDTV is one of India’s most popular and respected news organizations and a rare property that consistently takes a critical view of the efforts of the ruling government.
The New Delhi-based company, which operates two TV news channels and maintains a large web presence, said on Tuesday that neither the company nor its founders had any conversations, given consent or contributed. the acquisition of the majority stake.
“Without any discussion with New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) or its founder-promoters, notice was served upon them by Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL) that it (VCPL) exercised its rights to acquire control at 99.50% of RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH), the company owned by the promoter which owns 29.18% of NDTV.VCPL’s opinion is based on a loan agreement it entered into with the founders of NDTV Radhika and Prannoy Roy in 2009-10.The notice states that VCPL has exercised its option to convert 19,90,000 warrants into shares of RRPRH at Rs. 10/- per share, and that a total of Rs. crores were transferred to the RRPRH,” NDTV added.
The acquisition comes as Adani, Asia’s richest man, seeks to dive into media properties and aggressively compete with Mukesh Ambani, chairman of telecommunications oil giant Reliance Industries, on another avenue. Ambani owns the Network18 media property.
“This acquisition is an important step in the journey of AMNL’s goal to pave the way for new age media across all platforms,” Sanjay Pugalia, CEO of AMG Media Networks, said in a statement.
“AMNL seeks to empower Indian citizens, consumers and those interested in India with information and knowledge. With its leading position in news and its strong and diverse reach across genres and geographies, NDTV is the most appropriate broadcast and digital platform to realize our vision. We look forward to strengthening NDTV’s leadership in news broadcasting.