(Bloomberg) — Adani Group has now found investors willing to sell 5.3 million shares of Indian broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd. — or roughly a third of the entire size of the open offer — despite a deep discount to the stock’s current level, fueling a hostile takeover bid for the conglomerate.
The corporate investor category traded the most 3.9 million shares, while retail investors offered to sell just over 706,000 shares of the ports-to-power conglomerate, with qualified institutional buyers making up the rest, according to data available on the National Stock Website for exchange. All the shares on offer will have a fixed price of 294 rupees ($3.6) apiece, which is 27% below Monday’s closing price for NDTV.
The stock exchange disclosure did not name the funds or institutions that have offered to sell their shares to NDTV.
The conglomerate, led by Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani, has an open offer till December 5 to buy 16.76 million shares – or 26% of the equity – from minority investors of NDTV. The requirement to hold an open offer was triggered after Adani Group bought an indirect stake of 29.18% in August in the media firm. NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, who said they neither knew about nor agreed to Adani’s purchase, own about 32% stake in the broadcaster.
The takeover bid has raised concerns about the erosion of press freedom in the world’s largest democracy, as NDTV is seen as one of the few local media outlets relatively critical of India’s federal government. Adani told the Financial Times this month that it intended to expand NDTV to make it an international media group and had asked Roy to stay on as chairman.
The open offer was approved by India’s capital markets regulator earlier this month. The Adani Group is on a breakneck expansion spree as the tycoon diversifies beyond its coal-based businesses into airports, digital hubs, cement, green energy and now media.
NDTV shares rose following Adani’s interest in the company. They are up nearly 250% this year and are on track for their best annual gain since they debuted in 2004.
–With assistance from Devidutta Tripathy and Anirban Nag.
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