DTH

Warburg Pincus to buy 20% in Airtel’s DTH arm

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MUMBAI: Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus will acquire up to 20 per cent equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited (Bharati Telemedia), the DTH arm of Airtel, for around $350 million. Of this, 15 per cent stake will be sold by Bharti Airtel and the remaining by another Bharti entity, which holds 5 per cent stake, the telco said in a statement.

The Airtel board has approved the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals. As part of the transaction, Viraj Sawhney, MD, Warburg Pincus India, will join the board of Bharti Telemedia.

“Airtel has enjoyed a very successful partnership with Warburg Pincus in the past and we are excited to partner with them once again in an attractive and fast growing space. Airtel TV is very well positioned in the DTH space, and we are committed to grow our share of the market through a combination of innovation, value engineering, customer service and distribution initiatives. We look forward to working with Warburg Pincus towards achieving our vision of making Airtel TV India’s leading DTH platform," Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said in a joint statement.

Upon closing of the transaction, Airtel will own an 80 per cent equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited.

“The Indian Digital TV market is expanding rapidly and we believe that Airtel DTH is well positioned to capitalize on incremental growth in digitisation and new TV penetration in Tier 3 and 4 towns and rural areas. We are pleased to be working alongside Sunil Bharti Mittal and the Bharti group again following our successful partnership many years ago, and we look forward to supporting the management team during the next phase of the Company’s growth," Vishal Mahadevia, MD and co-head, Warburg Pincus India, said.

Bharti Telemedia offers DTH services under the Airtel TV brand. It had around 14 million subscribers and around $550 million in revenue during the 12 months ended September 30, 2017.

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