Markets regulator Sebi on Monday approved Adani Group’s open offer to buy an additional 26% stake in broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd, a takeover attempt that has raised concerns over eroding press freedom in the world’s largest democracy.
The Securities & Exchange Board of India approved Adani Group’s open offer, as per a statement on SEBI’s website, allowing Adani to buy more equity from the media company’s minority shareholders.
The conglomerate, owned by Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani, had revised the offer’s roll out date to 22 November. It will close on 5 December, NDTV had said last week.
Adani’s initial plan was to launch its open offer last month, but was delayed as it awaited the markets regulator’s approval. The billionaire’s ports-to-power conglomerate triggered a hostile takeover bid for the broadcaster after it acquired an indirect 29.18% stake back in August.
The little-known company that lent over ₹400 crore to NDTV’s founders more than a decade ago in exchange for warrants that allowed the firm to acquire a stake of 29.18% in the news group at any time.
NDTV’s founders – Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy – have opposed the takeover bid. They had claimed that both of them were completely unaware of the takeover and it was done without their consent.
Adani is now one step closer to gaining a larger footprint in India’s media sector. The billionaire, whose personal fortune valued at almost $138 billion has gained the most globally in 2022, is rapidly diversifying his empire beyond its cornerstone of coal mining and ports to branch into airports, data centres, cement and digital services.
Meanwhile, NDTV has reported an increase of 4.4% in consolidated net profit to ₹13.03 crore for the second quarter ended September. The company had posted a net profit of ₹12.48 crore during the July-September quarter a year ago, according to a regulatory filing.