According to persons familiar with the situation, Indian billionaire Gautam Adani is looking to increase his media investments as part of an ambitious development strategy as he diversifies his company beyond its shipping and coal-mining roots.
The Adani group is looking to buy holdings in certain local television and print news channels, and a few have approached the conglomerate to look into possible agreements, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they were talking about confidential information. The persons indicated that the discussions are preliminary and that there is no guarantee that they will result in a transaction.
Adani, 59, is pursuing the media as part of a simmering battle with compatriot Mukesh Ambani, 65, to control India’s $2.7 trillion economy. The junior tycoon recently dethroned the elder as Asia’s richest man. Adani is expanding his empire by adding airports, data centres, and other businesses, similar to Ambani, who went from oil refining and petrochemicals into telecoms, retail, technology, and media. Both companies have announced a $146 billion investment in renewable energy over the next two decades.
Adani Enterprises Ltd. recently launched AMG Media Networks, a division dedicated to “publishing, advertising, broadcasting, and distribution of content across all types of media networks.” According to a statement, Adani Media Ventures Ltd. agreed to buy a share in Quintillion Business Media Pvt. in March. Quintillion was a Bloomberg LP (parent company of Bloomberg News) Indian partner.
According to Bloomberg data, Adani Enterprises’ shares have risen about 32% this year, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex has fallen 4.4 per cent
When contacting potential targets, it has pledged to remain a financial backer and not interfere with the organisations’ editorial decisions, according to two sources. Last year, the conglomerate hired Sanjay Pugalia to lead Adani Media Ventures as it increased its focus on the industry.
Adani will have a significant footprint in an industry where Ambani has already made a name for himself through his Network18 Media & Investments Ltd. According to one source, the Adani conglomerate is interested in media properties that are the appropriate match, regardless of size.
Adani’s entry into the country’s media sphere also ratchets up the competition for a market of almost 1.4 billion people, which is already congested with domestic and international heavyweights like Sony Group Corp., Netflix Inc., and James Murdoch.
By the end of 2022, Sony will have merged with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., a local network founded by Subhash Chandra, to form a $10 billion behemoth. In April, a company founded by Murdoch and a former Disney executive revealed a $1.8 billion investment in a business backed by Ambani.