Nov 25 (Reuters) – Indian billionaire Gautam Adani told the Financial Times on Friday in an interview with the Financial Times that he sees the potential for a takeover of news broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV). (NDTV.NS) is a “responsibility”, not a business opportunity.
Port Energy Group, run by Asia’s richest man Adani, unveiled plans in late August to acquire a majority stake in NDTV, considered a bastion of independent media.
The takeover attempt has sparked concerns among journalists and politicians that the change of ownership could undermine NDTV’s editorial integrity.
NDTV, which was established in 1988 and is owned by husband-and-wife team Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, has previously said Adani Group’s move “was carried out without any input, dialogue or consent from NDTV’s founders”.
Adani hails from the western state of Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s main opposition Congress party has often accused Adani and other billionaires of receiving preferential treatment from Modi’s federal government.
“Independence means that if the government does something wrong, you say it is wrong,” Adani said in an interview with the FT. “But at the same time, when the government is doing the right thing every day, you should have courage. You have to say the same.”
Adani added that he has invited Prannoy Roy, owner and founder of NDTV, to remain chairman after the acquisition.
NDTV’s commercial rivals include Times Group’s Times Now and Network18’s CNN-News18, which is controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
Adani also said in the interview that he plans to invest more than $4 billion in a petrochemical complex in Gujarat state.
He is reportedly planning to launch a “super app” in the next three to six months to connect passengers at Adani Airport with other services of the Adani Group.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Devika Syamanath
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