The wealthiest man in Asia has started a hostile takeover attempt to obtain control of a significant broadcaster in India and establish a stronger presence in the dynamic media market there.
AMG Media Networks, a division of billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate, announced late on Tuesday that it had purchased one of the network’s key owners for an undisclosed amount in order to acquire a 29% stake in New Delhi Television (NDTV).The Adani Group has also initiated a proposal to NDTV shareholders to purchase an additional 26% stake in the broadcaster for $61.77 million, according to documents filed with the Mumbai Stock Exchange.
According to Sanjay Pugalia, the company’s CEO, this acquisition marks a huge milestone for AMG Media Networks. The business seeks to provide information and expertise to Indian people, consumers, and others interested in India, he conveyed.
The change, according to NDTV, which runs websites and TV networks, was made without their approval.
The founders and promoters of NDTV claimed in a statement that Adani had bought the 29% share in the business without their “discussion, consent, or notice.”
One of India’s most reliable news networks, NDTV was established in 1988 by journalists Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy. It is also one of the few significant media outlets that frequently criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the federal government’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Editorial independence concerns
The move by Adani has raised concerns about declining editorial independence and plurality in the biggest democracy in the world. According to a 2019 report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), prominent Indian media groups frequently have investments in other sectors. The organisation claimed that the majority of the top companies are owned by “large conglomerates that are still controlled by the founding families and that invest in a vast array of sectors other than media.”
According to experts, this means that in order for the owners of TV stations and newspapers to have favourable regulatory rules for their other enterprises, they must maintain good relations with the ruling party and be forgiving of its missteps.
The creator of the Adani Group, Adani, is the owner of a variety of businesses, from ports and aerospace to solar energy and coal. Investors have banked on his capacity to expand his company in industries Modi has selected for development, which has led to his fortune growing dramatically since the pandemic began.Adani is presently the fourth richest person in the world with a net worth of $135 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
However, the group’s media foray comes at a time when analysts are worried about its debt-fueled rapid expansion.
The Adani Group is expanding into new and/or unrelated businesses, which need a lot of capital and create concerns about compromising execution oversight.