Dish TV terms Videocon d2h acquisition plans speculative

MUMBAI: Leading Indian DTH operator, DishTV, has rubbished news reports that it was acquiring or it is in talks to acquire India's fastest growing DTH operator Videocon d2H. It has issued a press statement and a release to the Bombay stock exchange which says: "This is in reference to the news relating to the proposed acquisition of Videocon D2H by Dish TV appearing in certain sections of media. The news is speculative in nature and as a Policy, Dish TV does not comment on market speculations and rumours."

An article on moneycontrol.com, owned by the Network18 group, had stated that Dish TV India was in the running to take over Videocon d2H. According to moneycontrol, the latter had put up a bid price which valued itself at around $1 billion. Dish TV's offer price was lower, and it was trying to bring d2H's bid down. Said the report: "The two companies are negotiating on valuations close to $ 1 billion. This is because Videocon's ask price is currently higher than what Dish TV has offered. Nasdaq-listed Videocon d2H has a market capitalisation of of USD 855 million and has a net debt of Rs 1600 crore. The losses that the company had last fiscal year stood at Rs 92.2 crore."

The article had further claimed that: "Even the lenders have suggested that sale of Videocon d2H to Dish TV is likely."

This had been supported by other news reports which had explained that lenders - banks and financial institutions - to the Vengopal Dhoot promoted Videocon group were allegedly forcing it to offload assets as it is too heavily leveraged. The reports had stated that the much diversified group which began in electronics but today was involved in oil and gas had taken on a debt pile that it was finding difficult to service. Hence, it was exploring several options to pare its loans by finding buyers for assets like its oil and gas operations or its direct to home television businesses, the reports had claimed.

But with DishTV pooh-poohing that it was amongst the suitors for Videocon d2H, at least speculation about one of the alleged transactions has been put to rest.

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