Shares of New Delhi Television Ltd advanced 5% on Thursday on the news that Ajay Singh, co-founder and owner of SpiceJet has picked up majority holding in the news channel. With its founders Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and promoter firm RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd facing a CBI probe for allegedly concealing a share transaction, NDTV is set to change hands, it is learnt. Ajay Singh, co-founder and owner of SpiceJet who was part of the BJP’s 2014 poll campaign, has picked up majority holding in the news channel, The Indian Express reported citing unidentified sources. The stock of NDTV Ltd rose as much as 4.94% to the day’s high of Rs 53.1 on BSE.
When asked if NDTV has been sold to SpiceJet’s Ajay Singh, the source said, “Yes, the deal has been finalised and Ajay Singh will take control of NDTV along with editorial rights.” On June 5, the CBI conducted searches at the residences of the Roys. Calling the raids a “blatant attack on the freedom of the press,” NDTV, in a statement, said that the CBI had filed its FIR based on a “shoddy complaint” by a “disgruntled” former NDTV consultant who has not obtained a “single order from the courts.”
Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director for SpiceJet, will have a controlling stake in NDTV of around 40% and the promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy will hold around 20% in the company, The Indian Express report added. According to the data available with BSE, the promoter holding in NDTV as of June 2017 stood at 61.45%. Public shareholding in the company stands at 38.55%. The source said that Ajay Singh will also pick up NDTV’s debt of over Rs 400 crore and the total deal is valued at around Rs 600 crore.
Earlier this month, shares of New Delhi Television Ltd surged 20% today to hit the upper circuit, taking the overall gain to as much as over 60% in three trading sessions in a row. NDTV shares ended at Rs 56.75 on BSE on Tuesday, up 60% from Rs 35.45 at Thursday’s close. However, there seems to be no clear reason to which these gains could be attributed.
In August, the Delhi High Court upheld a decision of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal that the Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy-run news media company is entitled to income tax deduction on the export of television news software.