Ajay Singh, who turned around budget carrier SpiceJet, is set to buy NDTV for a total deal value of Rs 600 crore, a report in The Indian Express has said on Friday. Singh has been the chairman and managing director of SpiceJet from January 2015.
Sources in both SpiceJet and NDTV have denied any such move though. “With reference to your letter seeking clarification on the news item appearing on www.moneycontrol.com, we wish to inform you that the promoters of the Company have not entered into any agreement for sale of their stake in the Company to any person,” NDTV said in a clarification to the stock exchanges.
The media report further added that Ajay Singh will hold around 40 per cent stake in NDTV while promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy will hold around 20 per cent in the company.
The channel has been facing CBI probe allegedly concealing a share transaction. In June the federal probe agency had raided the houses of Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy.
The development caused a considerable furore both in India and abroad as media from around the globe provided prominent coverage with many calling it a blow to press freedom in India. The New York Times even dedicated an editorial on the CBI raids by concluding that ‘the raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India’s news media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.’
The raids on Roys’ houses had taken place just days after one of the anchors working for the channel had asked a BJP spokesperson to leave the show. Nidhi Razdan had told Patra to leave the show if he did not apologise after he accused the NDTV of spreading misinformation with an agenda.
In July, the channel was reported to have fired over 70 staff, mostly in technical department, as part of cost cutting exercise.
NDTV stocks advanced 4.94 per cent to Rs 53.10, while SpiceJet was trading 1.92 per cent down at Rs 142.75 around 9.30 am (IST), eventually closing Friday’s session at Rs 53.10, up 4.94 per cent.
On BSE, 8725 shares of NDTV were traded in the counter in early trade, compared with average daily volume of 4,9000 shares in the past two weeks.
NDTV had hit 52-week high of Rs 92.20 on September 23, 2016, while 52-week low of Rs 33.50 on August 9, 2017.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2017, NDTV reported a net loss of Rs 22.01 crore against net loss of Rs 44.55 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.