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RIL close to buying majority stakes in DEN, Hathway

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MUMBAI: Reliance Industries is expected to buy controlling stakes in two of India’s largest cable TV and broadband service providers, DEN Networks and Hathway Cable & Datacom, according to a report by the Times of India (TOI). The plan mostly is to increase the reach in particular regions of the country for its Gigafiber, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) service.

In May 2017, Reliance Jio had begun rolling out beta trials of the FTTH service at select locations in six cities- Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat and Vadodara.

RIL is likely to own more than 25 per cent each in the two companies which will enable it to control developments and get a seat on the board. The deal is expected to be announced in the next few days. Both companies have told the stock exchanges that the respective boards are meeting on 17 October to discuss and approve a proposal for raising funds.

“RIL wants to create a platform which will accelerate home broadband penetration in India, which is currently in a low single-digit. The aim is to push home broadband penetration to around 60 per cent in the coming years,” TOI quoted a source.

Last September, RIL was in advanced talks to acquire DEN but could not reach an agreement. Some months ago, it began talks with Hathway as well.

Industry experts told TOI that a stake in Hathway and DEN will be a major boost to Jio. Both operators have 7.2 million digital cable subscribers each, with operations across 350 and 200 cities, respectively.

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