Malaysia's Astro 'doesn't know' about talks with Reliance Digital TV


NEW DELHI: Malaysian and ASEAN content and consumer company Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd has scotched rumours about due diligence being done to buy financially-beleaguered Indian DTH operator Reliance Digital TV saying it "does not know anything" about the talks.

"I read about it in the newspaper," Astro CEO Datuk Rohana Rozhan was quoted as saying by website The Edge Markets in a report datelined Kuala Lumpur. The pay TV service provider’s executive further told reporters that “as a matter of principle, we don't comment on rumours."

According to the website report, pressed with questions on whether Astro was denying that it was in talks with Reliance Digital TV, Rohana was quoted as saying, “I don't know anything about it and I am the CEO of this company."

Malaysia’s The Star few days earlier had carried a wire agency report of Bernama that Astro was performing a due diligence to buy into Reliance Digital TV, a business venture under Reliance Communications controlled by Anil Ambani. A Reliance spokesman had declined to comment when contacted by Bernama wire agency that sourced the news story to a report in Times of India.

The Bernama report had gone to add that with just 2 per cent subscribers in the Indian DTH market, Reliance Digital TV faces stiff competition from bigger players and a sale deal could help RCom cut its debt. Astro has a 20 per cent stake in south Indian DTH operator Sun Direct.

Last year the Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Communications had entered into a definitive agreement with the Zee group companies to sell its TV broadcast comprising few channels and radio FM businesses subject to regulatory approvals. Buyer Zee presently is in the process of integrating with the group the Reliance businesses.

Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad is a Kuala Lumpur-based content and consumer company that is recommitting towards being a technology-driven organisation in the digital, TV, radio and e-commerce space.With a customer base of 5.8 million or approximately 71 per cent penetration of total households in Malaysia, Astro serves 21 million individuals by offering a wide range of media and entertainment products spanning across television, radio, digital media and home shopping.

Astro’s value proposition includes 188 TV channels broadcast via DTH satellite TV, IPTV and OTT platforms, of which 60 are Astro-branded and 72 are in HD. Astro also offer a non-subscription freemium service called NJOI, which offers 28 channels, of which two are in HD and 19 radio stations.


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