With billionaire Gautam Adani launching a hostile takeover of NDTV, Congress alleged on Wednesday that the bid for a company owned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “khaas dost” (special friend) is a brazen move to control and stifle any semblance of independent media. .
In a stunning move with the potential to change the media landscape, Adani launched a hostile takeover of NDTV, first with an indirect acquisition of a 29.18% stake in the broadcaster, followed by an offer to buy out another majority stake of 26%.
The owners of New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), one of the country’s most popular news channels, said they were completely unaware of the takeover until Tuesday and said it was is done without their consent or any discussion.
Also Read – NDTV Says Adani Entity’s Decision to Take Control of Shareholder “Without Consent”
In reference to this development, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “News of a heavily overleveraged company owned by the Prime Minister’s ‘khaas dost’ making a hostile takeover bid on a news network well-known television is nothing but a concentration of savings. and political power, and a brazen maneuver to control and stifle any semblance of independent media.”
The news of a heavily overleveraged company owned by the Prime Minister’s ‘khaas dost’ making a hostile takeover bid on a well-known TV news network is nothing but a concentration of economic and political power. , and a brazen decision to control and stifle any semblance of independent media.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) August 24, 2022
“What is mysterious is how a loan granted by one of the ‘Humare Do’ is used as a weapon by the other member of the duo to trigger the hostile takeover of the television station. Ironic, that an outfit called ‘Vishvapradhan’ is closely involved!” Ramesh said in another tweet.
Reacting to the development, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal said on Twitter: “NDTV-Adani to acquire 29%. Makes open offer for 26%. Almost last bastion of independent journalism is taken over by industry. We should we be worried!”
Adani will acquire 29%
Make an open offer for 26%
Almost the last bastion of independent journalism taken over by the industry
We should be worried!
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) August 24, 2022
An Adani Group firm first acquired a company that was in the past linked to rival billionaire Mukesh Ambani. The company in particular had lent Rs 250 crore to NDTV in 2008-09 and the Adani Group company has now exercised the option to convert that debt into a 29.18% stake in the news channel.
Subsequently, it launched an open bid for another 26% stake, the group said in a statement.
Last year, Adani Media Ventures Ltd (AMVL), the media arm of the group’s flagship, Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), acquired the digital business news platform Quintillion Business Media Pvt Ltd (QBM).
“AMVL’s wholly owned subsidiary, Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt Ltd (VCPL), holds warrants from RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd (RRPR) allowing it to convert them into a 99.9% stake in RRPR. VCPL exercised warrants to acquire 99.5% of RRPR,” it said.
Such acquisition will result in VCPL acquiring control of RRPR.
“RRPR is an NDTV Promoter Group company and holds a 29.18% stake in NDTV,” the statement said.
In a statement, NDTV said VCPL’s exercise of the right was carried out without any input from the company or its founders.
“Without any discussion with NDTV or its founder-promoters, notice was served on them by Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL) stating that it (VCPL) has exercised its rights to acquire 99.50% control of RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH), the company owned by the promoter which owns 29.18% of NDTV,” he said.
NDTV operates three national news channels – English language news channel NDTV 24×7, Hindi news channel NDTV India and business news channel NDTV Profit.