Ajay Singh, co-founder and owner of SpiceJet, is believed to have bought majority stakes in news channel NDTV, according to a report in The Indian Express on Friday morning.
Although an unnamed SpiceJet official dismissed the claim, the report cited another anonymous source, who said "the deal has been finalised".
NDTV had run into trouble in June this year when its founders Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and promoter firm RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd were subjected to a CBI raid, allegedly based on a complaint by a former consultant, who was unhappy with the company.
The search was widely perceived as an attack on free press, known for its fearless reporting on the powers that be, as the accused defended themselves against the charges.
Ajay Singh, who is credited with coining the phrase "Abki Baar, Modi Sarkar" ahead of the election that saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party come to power in 2014, will own 40% stake in NDTV% and promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy will hold around 20%. Additionally, Singh will have the right to shape editorial decisions of the television channel.
Until June, the promoters owned 61.45% stake in NDTV, while public entities held 38.55% stakes. Singh is expected to write off NDTV's ₹400 crore debt as part of the deal that is valued at around ₹600 crore. It is said about ₹100 crore will go to the Roys.
As news of the takeover became public, the stock of NDTV Ltd rose as much as 4.94% to the day's high of ₹53.1 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, according to the Financial Express.
NDTV has denied the report and is expected to release a statement on Friday evening regarding it.
Apart from his political ties with the BJP, Singh has served on the Board of Delhi Transport Corporation in 1996 to help it prepare a plan to revamp the Delhi Transport Corporation. During his time, the number of buses operating in the city went up phenomenally from 300 to 6,000.
Singh demonstrated a similar magic touch when he took over SpiceJet in 2015, at a time it was dwindling, and transformed it into one of the most successful low-cost airlines in India.
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