Billionaire Adani to buy NDTV for foothold in India media space

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Asia’s richest man, Gautam Adani, is seeking control of an Indian media firm for a bigger foothold in the nation’s competitive digital and broadcast sector.

Adani Group, indirectly acquired a 29.2 percent stake in New Delhi Television Ltd., or NDTV, and offered to buy another 26 percent from the open market for a combined 6.07 billion rupees ($76 million), according to exchange filings Tuesday.

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Adani Group firms announced an open offer at 294 rupees per share -- a 20.5 percent discount to NDTV’s closing share price on the day.

This acquisition marked “a significant milestone for AMG Media Networks Ltd. that aims to “pave the path of new age media across platforms,” Sanjay Pugalia, the company’s chief executive officer said in a statement. “NDTV is the most suitable broadcast and digital platform to deliver on our vision.”

The group’s founder-billionaire Adani, with the world’s biggest wealth gain this year, built his empire on agri-trading and ports but has speedily diversified into airports, data centers, cement, renewable energy and now media.

This breakneck growth, sometimes in unrelated sectors, is making some investors wary about the group being too indebted and the management bandwidth getting too stretched across newer businesses.

Earlier this year, Adani Enterprises Ltd. established AMG Media Networks, an arm it said would be in the publishing and broadcasting businesses among other things.

NDTV produces and broadcasts news in English and Hindi. In March, Adani Media Ventures Ltd. agreed to buy a stake in Quintillion Business Media Pvt.

The Adani group is exploring buying stakes in some local television and print news outlets, while a few have approached the conglomerate also to study potential deals, Bloomberg reported in May.

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