The takeover of the newspaper has sparked fears that one of the country’s last bastions of a free press is under threat.
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has raised his stake in New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) to 37 percent through an open offer, making it the largest shareholder in one of the country’s most popular broadcasters.
Although the Adani group, which raised its price on Monday, wants to take another 26 percent stake in NDTV, the open offer attracted bids for only 5.3 million shares, representing an interest of 8.3 percent in the company.
Last week, Adani acquired a 29.2 percent stake in NDTV by buying a company backed by TV founders Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy, who own 32.3 percent in NDTV.
The doctor-energy conglomerate’s takeover of NDTV has sparked fears among some journalists that one of the country’s last bastions of free broadcasting is under threat.
Soon after Adani took over the founding board of NDTV, Ravish Kumar, the editor-in-chief of NDTV, resigned.
Adani, however, said he sees the NDTV takeover as a “responsibility” rather than a business opportunity, adding that he has invited Prannoy Roy to remain in the chair when the acquisition is completed.
In the opening session that ended Monday, institutional investors offered 3.9 million shares, while retail investors offered to sell 706,000 shares. It was not immediately clear who was involved.
Adani offered to buy NDTV shares at a price of 294 rupees, representing a 25% discount to Monday’s closing price.
While a successful launch would mean Adani would have a majority stake in NDTV, 37.4 percent still makes it the largest shareholder, said Shriram Subramanian, managing director of Bengaluru-based InGovern Research Services, an industry consultancy. .
“It’s their share, they [Adani] they may still seek to direct the committee through the reform. They can appoint their own directors and remove the current directors,” Subramanian said.
Adani unveiled plans in late August to acquire more money in NDTV, but was heavily criticized by journalists who said the billionaire’s bid was made without permission from NDTV’s founders.
After unsuccessfully trying to block the takeover, citing restrictions on transferable shares, a consortium backed by the founders of NDTV transferred its entire stake to Adani last week.