NDTV, Television news channel on Friday denied a report that SpiceJet owner Ajay Singh has picked up majority stake in the firm. NDTV in a statement to BSE informed that promoters of the media company have not inked any deal to sell their stake to any person.
“With reference to your letter seeking clarification on the news item appearing on www.moneycontrol.com, We wish to inform you [BSE] that the promoters of the Company have not entered into any agreement for sale of their stake in the Company to any person”, the channel’s statement said.
The Indian Express today reported SpiceJet owner Ajay Singh has picked up majority holding in NDTV. The Indian Express report says when the newspaper 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.”
Later, a senior NDTV official had told The Hindu, “Not even a single sentence of these reports is true.” A SpiceJet official had also refuted the report, calling it “false and baseless”.
The report said that SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh will have controlling stake in NDTV of around 40 per cent and the promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy will hold around 20 per cent in the company. He will also pick up NDTV’s debt of over Rs 400 crore and the total deal is valued at around Rs 600 crore, the report said. Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy had founded NDTV in 1988.
Singh was part of the core advertising team of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll campaign ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He is believed to be the mind behind the BJP’s “Abki Baar, Modi Sarkar” campaign slogan.
The last few months have been quite engaging for NDTV. TV channel chief Roy’s residence was raided by CBI on June 5. Later NDTV in a statement called them a “blatant attack on the freedom of the press” and said the CBI filed its FIR based on a “shoddy complaint” by a “disgruntled” former NDTV consultant, who has not obtained a “single order from the courts.”
In November last, former Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu imposed a one-day ban on NDTV for its coverage of the Pathankot air base attack. The government claimed that NDTV imperiled national security by broadcasting the sensitive details about the air base. The ban was, however, put on hold after strong protests from the journalists’ union and the Supreme Court’s decision to hear NDTV’s plea.