Months after Gautam Adani’s new media unit AMG Media Networks Ltd (AMNL) announced the takeover of NDTV, Adani said that he wants NDTV to have a global footprint. Adani is also planning to invest more than $4 billion in a petrochemical complex in the state of Gujarat
“India does not have a “single [outlet]” to compare with big international media houses. Why can’t you support one media house to become independent and have a global footprint?” Adani said in an interview with Financial Times.
According to Adani, going by the scale and size of his conglomerate, the cost of building an international media group would be ‘negligible’. Adani is the world’s third-richest person, with a net worth of $128 billion.
Earlier in 2022, AMNL also bought a stake in business news platform BQ Prime, formerly called BloombergQuint.
In the interview, he stated that the NDTV purchase was a “responsibility” rather than a “business opportunity”. He said he has invited NDTV owner-founder Prannoy Roy to remain as the head of the media house.
Toeing the govt line
NDTV is considered one of the last TV news channels that does not obsequiously toe the line with the government. Regarding editorial independence, Adani said, “Independence means if the government has done something wrong, you say it’s wrong. But at the same time, you should have courage when the government is doing the right thing ...you have to also say that.”
Adani held 29.18 per cent stake in NDTV before launching an open offer to acquire 26 per cent additional stake in the Delhi based news channel. The open offer will close on December 5, as of Thursday a total of 16.54 per cent of additional shares were tendered to Adani.
$4 b in petrochemicals complex
Adani plans to invest additional $4 billion in a petrochemicals complex in Gujarat. He added that he does not believe moving into petrochemicals will throw him into serious competition with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries. “India is a huge growth market and everybody is welcome,” he said.
Super app, too
Adani stated that his group is also planning to launch a “super app” to connect Adani airport passengers with other services in the next three-six months.
In July, the group bought Israel’s second-biggest commercial port in Haifa with the Godot Group for $1.2 billion. He told FT that the group is also eyeing an antry into Israel’s power sector.
Speaking on Africa, Adani expressed his desire to invest in the east coast in a “mining and metal business”. His company is currently assessing ways to produce hydrogen in Morocco and Oman.
Coal mine in Aus
Moreover, Adani added that the current high energy prices had underscored the importance of the Carmichael coal mine project in Australia. Corporations had cut ties with the project as it did not align with their ESG commitments. It was also subjected to a backlash from activists.
In hindsight, Adani said, he would not have developed it. “If we realised there’s so much objection, that so much resistance will come that we could not enter, we would have not done it,” he said.