A group of minority shareholders in India’s Bharat Nidhi (BNL), a company owned by Indian media baron Vineet Jain, have sent multiple complaints to the market regulator against a proposed share buyback they say “grossly undervalues” the company, reported Reuters.
The investors have asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to stop the buyback process, to look into the matter and appoint an independent valuer, according to copies of the complaints seen by Reuters.
“We are shareholders who have invested in the company a long time ago and instead if protecting our interests the company is now seeking to push us out of the company at an artificially depressed price,” one of the complaints dated June 27 read. The complaint was received by SEBI on July 1.
“With investor awareness on the rise, India has seen an increase in minority shareholder activism and fight for good corporate governance and better value, Shriram Subramanian, founder of proxy advisory firm InGovern,” said.
Shareholders do not have to sell their shares in the buyback.
BNL is a major shareholder in Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL), publisher of India’s biggest English daily, the Times of India, and owner of Times Internet that runs popular digital platforms such as property site Magicbricks, music streaming app Gaana and restaurant reservation company Dineout.
As per the 2018 annual report, BNL is controlled by Jain and his family through crossholdings. They control Bennett, Coleman through in a similar manner.