Indian businessman Adani seeks to control NDTV media group says move without consent: The conglomerate of Indian billionaire Gautam Adani said on Tuesday that it wants to control a majority stake in the popular New Delhi Television (NDTV), a move that the TV news group claims was done without its consent. According to Indian regulations, an Adani Group unit used financial rights to purchase a 29.18% stake in NDTV, with plans for a subsequent open offer for another 26% stake. NDTV issued a statement shortly after the announcement, claiming that the Adani Group’s move “was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders.” NDTV, one of the country’s most popular news organisations, is regarded as one of the few media organisations that frequently criticises the ruling administration’s policies. It runs three national channels: NDTV 24×7 in English, NDTV India in Hindi, and an economic news channel. “Based on NDTV’s statements, it appears that this may not be a friendly takeover, which generally follows agreed-upon terms and mechanisms, and may instead be a hostile takeover,” said Dipti Lavya Swain, founder and managing partner of DLS Law Offices. He has nothing to do with the situation. The Adani Group did not respond immediately to a request for comment on NDTV’s statement. While Adani did not provide financial details for the group’s planned 29.18% stake purchase, it did state that its subsequent open offer would be for 294 Indian rupees ($3.68) per NDTV share, for a total of 4.93 billion rupees. The open offer price is 20.5% lower than NDTV’s Tuesday close of 369.75 rupees. Prannoy Roy, one of India’s most famous TV news personalities, and his wife founded NDTV in 1988. In addition to TV news channels, the group operates online news websites. In a stock exchange disclosure on Monday, NDTV stated that Radhika and Prannoy Roy were not in discussions with any entity about changing ownership or selling their stake in NDTV. According to the statement, they still own 61.45% of NDTV individually and through their company. BILLIONAIRES’ BATTLE Adani, Asia’s richest man, made his first media venture in March, purchasing a minority position in the local digital business news portal Quintillion. However, the proposed NDTV deal is Adani’s most high-profile media gamble to date. Adani Group executive Sanjay Pugalia stated in a statement, “NDTV is the most ideal broadcast and digital platform to deliver on our ambition.” The move may pave the way for Adani to compete in the sector with fellow tycoon Mukesh Ambani. Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries (RELI.NS), owns Network18 (NEFI.NS), which operates business networks such as CNBC TV18. Adani Group owns a number of publicly traded firms in industries including airports and ports, electricity generating and transmission, and coal and gas trading. According to Elara Capital, India’s TV news industry is valued at $351 million, with Hindi news accounting for 70% of the market. Aside from Ambani, the Times Group owns a number of news networks and publications. Indian businessman Adani seeks to control NDTV; media group says move without consent According to Elara Capital, Adani’s intention to attempt to buy NDTV is at “extremely premium values,” but “this move will enable a huge corporate house backing for a news station.” Adani Group said that NDTV earned 4.21 billion rupees in revenue and 850 million rupees in net profit in the fiscal year that ended in March 2022, with no debt. Adani Group is “seriously overleveraged,” according to Fitch Group’s debt research unit CreditSights, and its various investments in capital-intensive companies may pose long-term risks to investors.