Gautam Adani surpassed Indian compatriot Mukesh Ambani to become Asia’s richest man in February. Due to a $49 billion increase in personal fortune this year, he has surpassed both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in terms of wealth. Adani is growing his infrastructure company with a net worth of $125.5 billion right now, overtaking Jeff Bezos in the process. This year, he has been Asia’s busiest dealmaker, buying assets including the $10 billion India operations of Swiss cement giant Holcim Ltd. He launched a hostile offer for broadcaster NDTV, one of the few media outlets in India ready to challenge the government, since he was perceived as being close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This group is now more worried than ever about journalistic liberties there. Adani Enterprises Ltd. has stated in papers that it wants to “empower Indian citizens” and support NDTV’s operations.
Adani, a first-generation businessman who dropped out of college, began his career in Mumbai as a diamond trader before making much of his money in ports and mines. Adani became a target of environmentalists after making a contentious investment in Australia’s Carmichael coal project. The stakes have also resulted in Adani’s most recent shift, a promise to invest $70 billion in green energy, being closely watched as he attempts to solidify his position on the international scene.
His large wagers, which include investments in cement, renewable energy, airports, and enlarged mining activity, have been financed by enormous debt. In a study from September, a division of the rating agency Fitch Group Inc. noted the “elevated” leverage in Adani’s operations.