Indian billionaire Adani seeks to control NDTV; media group says move without consent

The logo of the Adani Group is seen on the facade of one of its buildings on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

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BENGALURU, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate on Tuesday said it seeks to control a majority stake in the popular New Delhi Television (NDTV.NS) (NDTV), a move the TV news group said was executed without its consent.

A unit of the Adani Group said it had used financial rights in a bid to purchase a 29.18% stake in NDTV, laying out plans for a subsequent open offer for another 26% stake in line with Indian regulations.

Hours after the announcement, NDTV issued a statement saying the move by the Adani group “was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders.”

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Adani Group did not respond to NDTV’s remarks.

One of nation’s most popular news organisations, NDTV is regarded as one of the few media groups which often takes a critical view of the ruling administration’s policies. It operates three national channels – NDTV 24×7 in English, NDTV India in Hindi and a business news channel. read more

While Adani did not disclose financial details of the group’s planned 29.18% stake purchase, it said its subsequent open offer would be for 294 Indian rupees ($3.68) per NDTV share, which would be worth 4.93 billion rupees.

That open offer price is at a 20.5% discount to NDTV’s Tuesday’s close of 369.75 rupees.

NDTV was founded by one of India’s most famous TV news personalities, Prannoy Roy, and his wife in 1988. Other than TV news channels, the group also runs online news websites.

On Monday, NDTV said in a stock exchange disclosure that Radhika and Prannoy Roy were not in discussions with any entity for a change in ownership or a divestment of their stake in NDTV.

They individually and through their company continue to hold 61.45% of NDTV, the statement said.

($1 = 79.7890 Indian rupees)

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Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman, Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Writing by Sudarshan Varadhan and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Jason Neely and Mike Harrison

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