Owner and co-founder of SpiceJet Ajay Singh has picked up majority stake in news channel NDTV, The Indian Express has learnt. Sources told The Indian Express that a deal has been finalised and Singh will take control of the company along with editorial rights. Singh will have controlling stake of around 40 per cent while promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy will hold around 20 per cent. Public shareholding in the company is nearly 39 per cent, according to BSE data.
Singh is a first-generation entrepreneur who acquired low-cost airline company SpiceJet in 2004. In 2010, media baron Kalanidhi Maran through the Sun Group took over majority stake in the company, transferring management and ownership rights to him. However, Singh stepped back into the picture in 2015 when the company was plagued by financial losses. In January that year, he bought Maran’s majority shares. In a bid to revive the loss-making airline, the deal helped infuse fresh capital into the company. SpiceJet’s board appointed Singh and his wife Shiwani Singh as directors of the company. Singh also took over as chairman and managing director.
The same year, Singh was also in the news for coining the slogan “Abki baar Modi Sarkar”, which was used by the BJP in its campaign ahead of the 2014 general elections. The slogan, which was soon found splashed across walls, campaign pamphlets, hoardings, posters, TV and print advertisements, was conceived to help connect with a young audience and first-time voters. Singh later said he “never expected it to find so much resonance with the nation.”
Apart from being apart of BJP’s core campaigning team, Singh in the past has served as an OSD (officer on special duty) in the NDA government. He was OSD for the Information and Broadcasting, and Telecom and IT ministries. During this time, he helped launch DD Sports. He was also part of the team that helped plan DD news.
Singh was also appointed president of the Boxing Federation of India in 2016. “Sports in India seems to be more about its administrators and politicians and less about sportspersons. So I think it is worth an effort to professionalise it. And when I was told that there is this opportunity (in boxing), I thought it was worth a try,” he had said after taking charge. Singh added that his focus would be to improve its infrastructure and ensure boxers, coaches and technical officials receive the best of training. “Most definitely it’s the start of ‘acche din’ for Indian boxing,” he added, reported PTI.
(With inputs from agencies)