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  • Writer's pictureSwati Bhat

Billionaire Gautam Adani to Control 65% of News Service NDTV as Founders Sell Share

Several months after making a hostile takeover bid for New Delhi Television (NDTV), one of India’s most trusted news sources, the Adani Group will control nearly 65% of the company.

Swati Bhat

The Adani Group is chaired by billionaire Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and the third richest man in the world.

In August, Adani’s AMG Media Networks Limited (AMNL) acquired some 29% of NDTV indirectly, by buying out loans to the company and after an open offer to acquire more of the company, owned a 37% stake in the company, becoming the single largest shareholder in the process.

NDTV communiqued in a statement at the time that the loan buyout “was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders.”

On Friday, NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy decided to sell 27.26% of their 32.26% share in the company to AMNL, it was disclosed in NDTV regulatory filings.

“The AMG Media Network, after the recent open offer, is now the single largest shareholder in NDTV. Consequently, with mutual agreement we have decided to divest most of our shares in NDTV to the AMG Media Network,” the Roys said in a statement. “Since the open offer was launched, our discussions with Gautam Adani have been constructive; all the suggestions we made were accepted by him positively and with openness.”

The Roys resigned from NDTV in November and the outlet’s star journalist Ravish Kumar, the subject of Vinay Shukla’s Toronto and Busan-winning documentary “While We Watched,” resigned earlier this month.

NDTV was founded in 1984 by the Roys. It currently operates two news channels and is known for being a watchdog of democracy by fearlessly questioning those in power, irrespective of which political party they belong to. As such, it has the reputation of being one of the few remaining independent – and therefore credible – news outlets in India.

With a market capitalization of $310 million, NDTV reported 2021 revenues of $45 million.

Adani, with a net worth of $120 billion, according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Adani group has interests in the port management, electric power generation and transmission, renewable energy, mining, airport operations, natural gas, food processing and infrastructure sectors.

Unlike the other major billionaire-led group in India, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, which has significant media holdings, including digital rights ownership of the lucrative Indian Premier League cricket tournament, Adani’s media holdings are modest. AMNL was set up in April this year to be in “the business of publishing, broadcasting, distributing and advertising,” per a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. The first step in building the Adani media empire was the May acquisition of a 49% stake in Quintillion Business Media, a digital business news platform.

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