attention from retail investors if the stock continues to trade at its current level, which is much higher than the open offer price.
RIL had the option of converting the debentures it held in Bahl’s holding companies into equity shares and gain control of them, and in turn control of Network18. It isn’t clear as to why it hasn’t chosen this route and instead decided to commit fresh investment to buy out the holding firms themselves.
A person familiar with the development said that one of the reasons for deciding against converting the debenture could be certain pending litigations against Network18 where one of the concerns raised was the issuance of such debentures and the resultant change in control at the listed entity upon their conversion. He didn’t wish to be identified.
Meanwhile, on Friday Bahl and his wife wrote a letter to the employees of Network18 saying that they have “effectively ended (their) entrepreneurial leadership” of Network18 by agreeing to exit their shareholding. Bahl added that he would be around to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.
Bahl also welcomed RIL and its chairman Mukesh Ambani, the new potential owners of Network18 and said: “Believe us, the Group (Network18) is in terrific hands. Mr Ambani is a visionary and a good human being.”
“We have no doubt that Network18 would soar into the ‘cloud’ under this dispensation. All of you have good cause to excited and optimistic about the future,” Bahl said in the letter.