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BSE seeks clarification from NDTV on Mukesh Ambani control report

Dileep Kumar

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MUMBAI: Is Reliance Industries boss and India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani in control of news broadcaster NDTV Ltd? The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has sought clarification from NDTV on a news report published by Sucheta Dalal’s financial magazine ‘Moneylife’ where it was explained how Ambani has taken control of the company through a loan agreement.

The exchange is awaiting a reply from the company.
In its article dated 9 June, Moneylife alleged that in July 2009, Vishvapradhan Commercial, a company associated with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), gave a loan of Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.5 billion) without any interest to NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, his wife Radhika Roy, and their private holding company RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd.

The loan was provided to repay funding the Roys obtained from a bank, which is barred by the market regulator, the report claimed.

Under the agreement signed on 21 July 2009, the Roys were to issue a convertible warrant that equals to 99.9 per cent of the ‘fully diluted equity share capital of the borrowers (the Roys and RRPR Holdings) at the time of conversion’ and the Ambani group agreed to limit their aggregate shareholding to 26 per cent, it added further.

The report also listed down the relevant clauses of the loan agreement that purportedly allowed Ambani to own NDTV. It also stated that ‘it is still not clear whether the group is the ultimate beneficial owner’.

NDTV has recently been caught in the regulatory crosshairs with SEBI imposing a Rs 20 million fine on the company for late disclosure of information regarding tax demands from the Income Tax department to the stock exchanges.

NDTV had said that it respectfully disagreed with the imposition of penalty and believed that it had a strong case in its favour. “The company will proceed as advised in law,” NDTV had said in a filing to the stock exchange.

BSE seeks clarification from NDTV on Mukesh Ambani control report | TelevisionPost.com
 
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