Billionaire Adani becomes NDTV’s biggest shareholder after open offer

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate on Monday raised its stake in New Delhi Television Ltd to more than 37% through an open offer, making it the biggest shareholder of one of the country’s most popular news networks.

Even though Adani’s group wanted to acquire a further 26% of NDTV, the open offer only garnered offers for 5.3 million shares, representing an 8.3% stake in the business.

By purchasing a business supported by Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy, the television network’s founders, who own a 32.3% share in NDTV, Adani this week acquired a stake in NDTV of around 29.2%.

Some journalists are concerned that one of the nation’s last remaining independent media outlets is in danger as a result of the ports-to-energy conglomerate’s acquisition of NDTV.

Ravish Kumar, a senior executive editor at NDTV, left his position shortly after Adani purchased the company that founded NDTV.

The acquisition of NDTV, according to Adani, is a “duty” rather than an economic opportunity, and he has invited Prannoy Roy to continue in that role after the acquisition is complete.

Corporate investors offered 3.9 million shares in the open offer that ended on Monday, while retail investors offered to sell over 706,000 shares. It was unclear who the participants were at first.

Adani had made an open offer to purchase NDTV shares for 294 rupees, which is 25% less than Monday’s closing price.

While a fully successful open offer would have meant Adani would have owned a majority stake in NDTV, the 37.4% stake still makes him the single largest shareholder, said Shriram Subramanian, managing director of Bengaluru-based InGovern Research Services, a corporate governance advisory firm.

‘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,’ Subramanian said.

Late in August, Adani announced plans to buy the majority of NDTV, but the news network fiercely resisted, claiming the billionaire’s bid was made without the founders’ approval.

The organisation backed by the NDTV founders transferred their entire shareholding to Adani last week after trying unsuccessfully to block the takeover by citing regulatory restrictions on moving shares.

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