Adani Group said on Tuesday it will buy a majority stake in NDTV, a high-profile Indian news house, in an apparently hostile takeover as billionaire Gautam Adani expands its media ambitions.
Adani’s unit AMG Media Networks will indirectly buy a 29.18% stake in New Delhi Television and make an open offer to buy another 26% stake, 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 news organizations and a rare property that consistently takes a critical look at the efforts of the ruling government.
The New Delhi-headquartered company, which operates three TV news channels and has a large internet presence, said on Tuesday that neither the company nor its founders engaged in any conversation, authorized or provided input for the majority stake acquisition.
“Without any discussion with New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) or its founder-promoters, notice has been served on them by Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL) stating that it (VCPL) has exercised its rights to 99.50% acquire control of RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH), the promoter-owned company that owns 29.18% of NDTV. VCPL’s notification is based on a loan agreement it entered into in 2009-2010 with NDTV founders Radhika and Prannoy Roy. The notice states that VCPL has exercised its option to convert 19.90,000 warrants into shares of RRPRH at Rs. 10/- per share, for a total of Rs. 1.99 crores has been transferred to RRPRH,” NDTV added.
The takeover comes as Adani, Asia’s richest man, wants to dive into media properties and otherwise compete aggressively with Mukesh Ambani, chairman of oil-to-telecom giant Reliance Industries. Ambani owns media-owned Network18.
“This acquisition is an important milestone in AMNL’s journey to pave the path for new age media across platforms,” said Sanjay Pugalia, CEO of AMG Media Networks, in a statement.
“AMNL wants to empower Indian citizens, consumers and interested parties in India with information and knowledge. With its leadership position in news and its strong and diverse reach across genres and geographies, NDTV is the most suitable broadcast and digital platform to fulfill our vision. We look forward to strengthening NDTV’s leadership in news delivery.”