After a year of controversy around his business, Gautam Adani, the chairman of India’s Adani Group, is the richest man in Asia once again. Adani’s net worth just increased by $13 billion to $ 97.6 billion over the last two days, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. This put him ahead of Indian rival Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, on the list. Ambani took the top spot in Asia in February 2023, and the two moguls have often traded places for the title.
Adani Group, a multinational conglomerate which operates mainly in the coal and energy industries, came under fire in January 2023 when Hindenburg Research, a small New York investment firm, accused the company of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme.”
In a report, Hindenburg alleged Adani and his family members, many of whom hold leadership roles in Adani Group, used a network of offshore shell companies for money laundering and stock manipulation. The allegations sent Adani Group’s stock to plummet on the Bombay Stock Exchange, costing Adani $28 billion in just a few days. Adani Group denounced Hindenburg’s accusations and published a 413-page rebuttal in late January, but it barely stopped the stock rout. By the end of February, Adani’s net worth had dropped to $40 billion, allowing Ambani to overtake his position as Asia’s richest person.
Things turned around this week (Jan. 3) when India’s Supreme Court court ordered the country’s financial regulators to conclude an investigation into Adani Group launched in light of last year’s Hindenburg report. Adani Group’s stock jumped 5.5 percent this week on the court ruling, adding $13 billion to its founder’s net worth.
Ambani operates in similar sectors as Adani. His conglomerate Reliance does business in oil refining, retail and telecommunications. His net worth is currently $97 billion (just shy of Adani’s $97.6 billion), around $10 billion more than it was at the end of 2022, according to Bloomberg.
However, Ambani’s wealth status may change soon as he is reportedly very close to making a deal with The Walt Disney Company (DIS) to buy its entire India division, Disney Star, for $10 billion. Disney have already hired law firms and started antitrust due diligence in preparation for the potential merger, according to Reuters.
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Read the original story Asia’s Richest Man Gautam Adani Gains $13B In the First Week of 2024—Here’s How and others by Nhari Djan at Observer.
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