Whatever it takes to control NDTV

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By: Pramod Kumar Singh
Updated: 01 December, 2022 9:22 pm IST
Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani (file photo)

New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV), a media company that runs several TV news channels and feted by the leftist cabal for its consistent anti- Narendra Modi coverage, will soon be under the control of billionaire businessman Gautam Adani of the Adani Group. Tongues have started wagging and social media platforms are agog with Adani Media Ventures at the cusp of controlling NDTV operations. 

Left leaning commentators have started to write obituaries of ‘free journalism’ and how Adani, a powerful businessman has been eying to buy NDTV for quite some time. The resignation of NDTV Hindi’s Executive Editor has given them a handle to beat with. 

Adani’s bid to buy NDTV is borne out of his desire to own a media group on the lines of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group that controls News18 media group, ETV Bharat network and news websites such as Money Control, Jio News and First Post. Policy makers of Adani Group have been trying to get a foothold in the electronic and print media as they thought that a section of media was running a vilification campaign against the rise of Adani Group and its Chairman Gautam Adani in particular. By owning NDTV, Adani Group can expand its base and control the narrative against it.

Adani Group had made an unsuccessful bid to buy TV9 network but it just could not happen. The turned their focus towards NDTV as it was on a shaky ground owing to its financial issues. Let’s analyse the factors behind the Adani buying out 29.18 percent shares.  NDTV’s owner Prannoy Roy formed a company named RRPR and took an interest free loan of Rs 403 crore from Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL). Since it was an interest free loan, Roy gave VCPL a warrant to convert 29.18 % shares of NDTV. Adani bought these 29.18 percent shares from VCPL.

Here is the twist. Gautam Adani is still not the owner of NDTV and does not have the editorial control as of now. But it can get the control of the NDTV group by buying outs required 22 % shares from the existing shareholders as NDTV is a listed company on the National Stock Exchange and rules of Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) permit Adani Group can make offers in the open market to get the requisite number of shares to get the control over it. As per the marker, there are almost 40 % shares in the open market and the business conglomerate won’t face issues in buying the same and taking full control of NDTV and all its assets.

Market projections indicate that Adani Group will be able to cobble up the requite percentage of shares in next two weeks and get hold over the editorial board of the NDTV.  

A major shake -up is expected in the NDTV management once Adani Group gets control via market. It recast the editorial board after Pronnoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy resigned as Directors from the RRPR. “The board of RRPR Holding has approved the appointment of Sudipta Bhattacharya, Sanjay Pugalia and Senthil Sinniah Chengalvarayan as directors on its board with immediate effect”, read the official statement issued by the NDTV on Tuesday evening.

One can easily claim that Gautam Adani led business conglomerate is very near in achieving its goal in having a larger footprint in India’s media world, which Adani group has been eying for quite some time. It wants to set foot in the field of communication and news gathering as part of group’s drive to expand beyond coal mining and ports. It now wants to control data centres via the vast mobile network across the country and expand its business interests.

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