An NDTV filing with SEBI was simple, yet struck at the roots of independent journalism in the country. The curtains have come down on independent television journalism, and this was clear from the simple filing.
It said Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy have resigned as directors on the board of RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH) with effect from November 29. Prannoy Roy is the Chairperson of NDTV and Radhika Roy is an Executive Director.
It also said that the board of RRPR Holding has approved the appointment of Sudipta Bhattacharya, Sanjay Pugalia and Senthil Sinniah Chengalvarayan as directors on its board with immediate effect.
This is in the backdrop of the Adani Group’s open offer to acquire New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV).
On August 23, Gautam Adani-led Adani Group, a conglomerate with diverse business interests, acquired 29.18 per cent stake in television channel NDTV Ltd, and said it would launch an open offer as required by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to buy another 26 per cent in the company. On November 22, the Adani Group launched its open offer, which is to remain open until December 5, 2022.
According to the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Rules, an open offer is made by the acquirer to the shareholders of the target company inviting them to tender their shares at a particular price, and is triggered if an acquirer holds more than 25 per cent of the public shareholding in the company.
Prannoy Roy was the first Indian entity to present independent television journalism with NDTV, and the programme they used to present over Doordarshan those days was known as The News This Week. That slowly morphed into a full-fledged television channel and it has been the standard bearer of television journalism since. That chapter has now ended.