Adani forays into news channel space; set to acquire NDTV

Last year, Adani Media Ventures Ltd (AMVL), the media arm under the group's flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), had acquired the digital business news platform Quintillion Business Media Pvt Ltd (QBM).
Gautam Adani
Gautam AdaniCreative Commons/Wikimedia

New Delhi, Aug 23: Richest Indian Gautam Adani's group on Tuesday said it will buy a majority stake in New Delhi Television Ltd, one of the nation's most popular news channels, as it looks to boost media investments as part of an ambitious expansion plan.

An Adani Group firm first acquired a company that in the past was linked to rival billionaire Mukesh Ambani. The particular company had loaned money to NDTV and the Adani group firm exercised the option to convert that debt into a 29.18 per cent stake in the news channel company.

Subsequently, it has now launched an open offer for another 26 per cent stake, the group said in a statement.

This will be the ports-to-energy group's most high-profile bet in the media sector where Ambani already has a sizeable presence through Network18, which runs a bouquet of channels, including news channel CNN-News18 and business channel CNBC-TV18.

Last year, Adani Media Ventures Ltd (AMVL), the media arm under the group's flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), had acquired the digital business news platform Quintillion Business Media Pvt Ltd (QBM).

"AMVL's wholly-owned subsidiary Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt Ltd (VCPL) holds warrants of RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd (RRPR) entitling it to convert them into 99.9 per cent stake in RRPR. VCPL has exercised warrants to acquire 99.5 per cent in RRPR," it said.

Such acquisition will result in VCPL acquiring control of RRPR.

"RRPR is a promoter group company of NDTV and holds a 29.18 per cent stake in NDTV," the statement said.

"VCPL, along with AMG Media Networks Ltd and AEL (persons acting in concert), will launch an open offer to acquire up to 26 per cent stake in NDTV" in compliance with takeover norm.

NDTV operates three national news channels - English news channel NDTV 24x7, Hindi news channel NDTV India and business news channel NDTV Profit.

It also has a strong online presence and remains one of the most followed news handles on social media with more than 35 million followers across various platforms.

The open offer would be worth Rs 493 crore.

Earlier on Tuesday, Adani said it bought VCPL for Rs 114 crore.

Incorporated in 2008, VCPL was initially linked to Ambani's group but its ownership was transferred to a firm run by an associate with links to Delhi-based Nahata Group. Ambani's Jio had bought Nahata group's Infotel Broadband in 2010 to re-enter the telecom business.

VCPL along with Adani Media Networks Ltd and Adani Enterprises Ltd has made the open offer at a price of Rs 294 each for the acquisition of up to 1,67,62,530 fully paid-up equity shares of NDTV.

NDTV's share price, which has risen more than 300 per cent so far this year, closed at Rs 366.20 apiece on BSE on Tuesday. The open offer price is 19.71 per cent lower than the closing price on Tuesday.

NDTV had a revenue of Rs 421 crore with an EBITDA of Rs 123 crore and net profit of Rs 85 crore in FY22 (April 2021 to March 2022) with negligible debt.

Adani group has been an eyeing entry into the media space for the past few months. In September last year, it hired veteran journalist Sanjay Pugalia to lead its media company, Adani Media Ventures.

Pugalia previously was president of Quint Digital Media, the parent company of QBM.

"This (NDTV) acquisition is a significant milestone in the journey of AMNL's goal to pave the path of new age media across platforms," Sanjay Pugalia, CEO of AMG Media Networks Ltd (AMNL), said.

AMNL, he said, seeks to empower Indian citizens, consumers and those interested in India, with information and knowledge.

"With its leading position in news and its strong and diverse reach across genres and geographies, NDTV is the most suitable broadcast and digital platform to deliver on our vision. We look forward to strengthening NDTV's leadership in news delivery," he said.

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