India's Adani Group gets regulatory nod for NDTV open offer, source says

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Adani Group is seen on the facade of one of its buildings on the outskirts of Ahmedabad

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian conglomerate Adani Group on Monday moved a step closer in its takeover of news broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd with an approval from the market regulator to buy an additional 26% stake, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The ports-to-energy conglomerate run by Asia's richest man, Gautam Adani, unveiled plans late in August to acquire a majority stake in the popular news network, seen as a bastion of independent media.

Adani planned to conduct the open offer for 26% stake in NDTV between Nov. 22 and Dec. 5, according to a stock exchange disclosure from last week. It is also set to get another 29.18% stake in the news group by taking over an entity backed by its founders.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Monday showed on its website that it had received final comments on the transaction on Nov. 7.

As per Indian regulations, an acquirer can proceed with the offer once SEBI receives final comments, according to the source familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity as that person is not allowed to speak to media.

Adani Group and NDTV did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment outside business hours.

NDTV is regarded by some as one of the few independent voices in India's rapidly polarising media landscape, and the takeover attempt has triggered concerns among journalists and politicians that a change of ownership could undermine its editorial integrity.

The broadcaster has previously said that the move by Adani Group "was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders."

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy; writing by Shivam Patel; editing by Paul Simao)