Curious case of Raghav Bahl’s newly-acquired Gaurav Mercantiles

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Raghav Bahl. (Photo: Twitter/@Raghav_Bahl)

New Delhi Shares of Gaurav Mercantiles have been heating up ever since media baron Raghav Bahl, along with wife Ritu Kapur, acquired a majority stake in it but they reached all-time high on Tuesday after a disclosure that the ship-breaking firm would now consider buying Bahl’s news website “The Quint.”

The share of Gaurav Mercantiles soared to a 52-week high of Rs 151 a piece on the BSE on Tuesday, a nearly seven time jump since March 2019.

In a recent communication, Gaurav Mercantiles said that the Board of Directors of the company in its scheduled meeting on July 17 would consider “the preliminary proposal in relation to acquisition of digital content business of Quintillion Media Private Limited — operated under the name and style of The Quint (www.thequint.com)”.

Gaurav Mercantiles had earlier this year come under the scanner of bourses for unusual rise in its share price after Bahl acquired it but the firm had said it cannot comment on the price movement.

“As you are aware, an open offer for shares of the company has been made by a highly reputed acquirer and the processing of the open offer by SEBI is set out in the status document on the SEBI website. Perhaps there is interest in the shares on this basis. We are unable to think of anything else for comment,” Gaurav Mercantiles Ltd had written on March 13, 2019 in response to a letter from the BSE on the issue.

Bahl and wife Ritu Kapur hold 66.4 per cent stake in Gaurav Mercantiles.

Bahl, who earlier sold his TV ventures to Reliance Industries, has been in news in recent months for wrong reasons. The tax department and some of the central investigation agencies have sought responses from him in the alleged case of tax evasion and alleged financial bungling.

The Income Tax department (I-T) had last year raided his residence and office in an alleged case of tax evasion.

Following this, Bahl had issued an official statement, saying that he was astonished to see that a blatant attempt had been made by the “government’s spin-masters” to say that the action was part of a year-long investigation into some Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) scam, whereby he and his wife had made “bogus” income of Rs 118 crore.

 

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