News consuming public in India on Friday woke up to news that NDTV was being sold and the man buying the channel was the founder of SpiceJet, Ajay Singh, who incidentally had coined the slogan ‘Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar’ in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The paper quoted a source confirming the deal between NDTV, which is currently facing CBI probe for money laundering, and SpiceJet’s Singh.
Hours later, NDTV released a statement to Bombay Stock Exchange clarifying that there was no change in ownership. It said, “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.
“The Company is mindful of its obligations under Clause 30 of the Listing Regulations and shall promptly intimate you of any event required which is required to be disclosed under the said Regulations. We hope that the above clarifies the matter raised in your aforesaid letter.”
NDTV, however, has not yet released any statement specifically denying the media reports of a planned takeover by Singh.
Social media platforms have been abuzz with reports of Singh possibly taking over the channel for several weeks now. Friday was the first time when it was formally reported by media outlets. The grapevine also reflected in the company’s share prices, that saw a jump of nearly 100 percent between 29 August and 8 September.
The company’s share value soared (See below) from Rs 35 on 29 August to Rs 68.80 on 8 September. This, according to to market experts, may have been as a result of investors’ renewed interest in the company given the profile and political proximity of the rumoured buyer, Singh on this occasion.
It’s also worth noting that usually the principal theory also suggests that the sudden price movement of a stock indicates what investors feel a company is worth.
Noted financial market expert, Atul Mehra, told Janta Ka Reporter that he did not see any foul play behind the sudden jump in NDTV’s share prices.
He said, “It’s difficult to conclude that the sudden increase in NDTV’s case may have been a result of insider’s trading. Unless we know that certain individuals known to the channel were bulk buying the shares, we can’t say that the jump in share prices was illegal. This could well have been due to the market grapevine that the channel was being sold and people who usually invest in market may have been prompted to make some quick money knowing the background of Ajay Singh.”
In August, Delhi High Court had upheld the findings of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) that NDTV Ltd was entitled for income tax deductions on television news software produced and exported by it outside the country.