NDTV officially denies sale to Ajay Singh

India’s oldest English television news broadcaster NDTV officially denied that it has been sold to Ajay Singh, the promoter of SpiceJet.

“We wish to inform you that the promoters of the Company have not entered into any agreement for sale of their stake in the Company to any person,” NDTV Ltd said in an official statement.

This is the first official clarification from the company. Previously, unofficial sources had denied the deal to The Hindu.

The denial comes in the wake of reports that Singh has acquired a 60% stake in the media company, restricting existing promoters led by Prannoy and Radhika Roy to 20%.

It also comes in the wake of a sharp increase in the stock price of the company.

In the first week of September, the company’s stock had appreciated about 80% to about Rs 66.50 without any apparent reason.

The media house operates India’s oldest English language TV news channel, NDTV 24×7, and is considered ‘left of center’ in its approach to covering news.

As a result, it has been the target of vicious attacks on social media from the other side of the political spectrum, including from the supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh, on the other hand, is considered close to the ruling dispensation and is widely credited with coining the popular 2014 election catchphrase ‘Abki Bar, Modi Sarkar’ (This time for Modi Government!)

Despite facing financial difficulties, partly as a result of a failed attempt to diversify into entertainment channels, NDTV has been more successful than most of its peers in adapting to the digital age. Its technology portal, for example, is one of the highest-earning web properties in India.

NDTV used to be a valuable stock up to about mid 2008, when it was trading in the Rs 400-500 price band. However, since the global financial crisis, which also resulted in a correction in both the media and stock markets in India, the stock has been in the Rs 100 range.