Ajay Singh, the co-founder and owner of low-cost airline SpiceJet and who coined the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 2014 election campaign slogan Áb ki Baar Modi Sarkar, has picked up majority holding in news channel NDTV, the Indian Express reported on Friday.
The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Singh will have a controlling stake in NDTV of about 40%, and its promoters Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika will hold some 20% in the company.
One of the sources said Singh, who acquired SpiceJet in January 2015 and turned it around, will also pick up NDTV’s debt of more than Rs 400 crore. The total deal is valued at about Rs 600 crore. A part of the cash (up to Rs 100 crore) will go to the Roys, it reported.
“Yes, the deal has been finalised and Ajay Singh will take control of NDTV along with editorial rights,” the source mentioned above was quoted as saying.
A SpiceJet official told the Indian Express the news was “absolutely false and baseless”. The newspaper said NDTV did not respond to its request for comment. The Hindustan Times could not verify the report.
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) data showed the promoter holding in NDTV as of June 2017 stood at 61.45% and the public shareholding was at 38.55%.
The Roys and the channel’s promoter firm RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd are facing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation for allegedly concealing a share transaction.
In June, the CBI raided the offices and homes of NDTV founder Prannoy Roy over allegations of defrauding a bank, a move the news broadcaster denounced as a “witch-hunt” to muzzle free speech.
But NDTV denies reports of takeover by SpiceJet
“Not even a single sentence of these reports is true,” a senior NDTV official told The Hindu.