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Everything you need to know about Gautam Adani and Hindenburg after the short seller’s fraud allegations burnt a $72 billion hole in the richest Asian’s empire

Gautam Adani talking while seated.Gautam Adani, founder and chair of Adani Group.

Amit Dave/Reuters

  • Hindenburg Research accused Adani Group of “brazen stock manipulation” in a scathing report published last week.
  • Founder Gautam Adani’s wealth has plunged by over $20 billion since the report was published.
  • Here’s what you need to know about Adani and Hindenburg.

Adani Group and Hindenburg Research are locked in a war of words that’s wiped almost $72 billion off the Indian conglomerate’s market value in just three days.

Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing feud.

Hindenburg has accused Adani of market manipulation and accounting fraud

Hindenburg is a short-seller – meaning it sells stocks it’s borrowed to make money from declines in their price.

The firm rose to prominence when it exposed fraud at Nikola Motors in 2020, which ultimately led to founder Trevor Milton’s downfall and Nikola’s share price crashing by over 90%.

On January 24, Hindenburg published a scathing report where it alleged that the Indian energy-to-infrastructure conglomerate Adani Group is “pulling the largest con in corporate history” and “has engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.”

Hindenburg said that the claimed activities helped push up the share prices of seven listed companies under the Adani Group umbrella, which in turn boosted founder and chair Gautam Adani’s net worth by over $100 billion in just three years.

Adani Group has pushed back – but investors aren’t buying it

Two days later, the Adani group said that it would explore legal action against Hindenburg, with the CFO calling the short seller’s report “maliciously mischievous” and “unresearched”.

It has also released two reports of its own – the 18-page “Myths of Short Seller” and a 413-page response published Sunday where it said Hindenburg’s actions were “rife with conflict of interest and intended  only to” enable the short seller “to book massive financial gain”, and represented an “attack on India”.

But that hasn’t won over investors yet, judging by the continued plunge in the shares and bonds of Adani firms.

Shares in Adani Group’s seven listed companies have plummeted since Hindenburg’s report was published, erasing just under $72 billion in market value.

Pershing Square CEO Bill Ackman – a billionaire investor who’s no stranger to short-selling – is one high-profile name who has piled in against Adani.

“Adani Group’s response speaks volumes,” Ackman said on Twitter Thursday. “Caveat emptor.”

Gautam Adani has lost over $20 billion since the report was published

Gautam Adani, Asia’s richest person, derives most of his wealth from stakes in the listed companies – so his net worth has plunged considerably since Hindenburg’s report was published.

Adani lost over $20 billion Friday alone as his companies’ share prices plummeted, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. He’s lost just under $28 billion in January, meaning almost a quarter of his fortune was depleted in the space of a single month.

Adani, who is worth nearly $93 billion as of January 30, is still the world’s richest Asian, but his ranking on the index fell to seventh from fourth a week ago.

As the industrialist sees his wealth plummet, Hindenburg has used that to take further shots at him.

“Fraud is fraud, even when it’s perpetrated by one of the wealthiest individuals in the world,” the short seller said Sunday evening.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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