Adani group has acquired a 50.5 per cent stake in newswire services provider IANS India Pvt Ltd for Rs ₹5.1 lakh, further strengthening its presence in the media sector.

The acquisition was done through Adani Enterprises’ subsidiary AMG Media Networks, which signed an agreement with IANS and its shareholder Sandeep Bamzai, an exchange filing late on Friday said.

Bamzai will hold the remaining stake, but he plans to exit the company over some time, he told businessline over a call from Kuala Lumpur.

It added that AMG Media will have all the operational and management control of IANS and the right to appoint all directors to its board. With this acquisition, Adani owns three media properties - the NDTV broadcasting network, Quintillion Business, which operates the business and financial news digital media platform BQ Prime, and now IANS.

IANS, or Indo-Asian News Service as it is called, was set up in 1986 originally to cater to the Indian diaspora in North America. About three decades later, it changed its focus to India and South Asia and became a full-fledged wire agency. It reported a turnover of Rs ₹12 crore in FY23, Rs ₹9.4 crore in FY22 and Rs ₹10.3 crore in FY21, according to the filing.

The wire service has about 200 employees and about 350 subscribers worldwide, including North America, Europe, the Middle East and China. 

Bamzai, the MD and editor-in-chief of the newswire, said he fell critically ill in February this year, which changed the “course of the finances” of IANS, which till then had been managing reasonably well.

His illness triggered Bamzai to exit the company and he found the Adani group to be the “perfect fit.” His main concern was to “ring-fence” the employees who had been working hard throughout the difficult times, including the Covid pandemic, and safeguard their livelihoods.

Bamzai pointed out that since he had sold the majority stake, he also decided not to be involved in the day-to-day management.