Airtel sells 20% stake in DTH business for $350 mn

Airtel DTH businessIndian telecom service provider Bharti Airtel has sold 20 percent stake in its DTH business to private equity firm Warburg Pincus for approximately $350 million.

Bharti Airtel will sell its 15 percent stake and another Bharti entity will sell the balance 5 percent stake in Bharti Telemedia to Warburg Pincus.

Warburg Pincus was one the equity investors in Bharti Airtel earlier. Airtel is the leading telecom operator in Indian telecom market in terms of revenue and wireless subscribers — well ahead of main rivals such as Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio.

Bharti Telemedia, which offers paid DTH service under the Airtel TV brand, had 4 million subscribers and approximately $550 million in revenues during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2017.

Sunil Taldar is heading the Airtel DTH business. Airtel TV, which was launched in 2008, has over 1,500 distribution partners and over 158,000 recharge outlets in approximately 630 districts of India.

“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,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

“The Indian Digital TV market is expanding rapidly and we believe that Airtel DTH is well positioned to capitalize on incremental growth in digitization and new TV penetration in Tier 3 and 4 towns and rural areas,” said Vishal Mahadevia, managing director and co-head, Warburg Pincus India.

Earlier, Reliance Communications announced share purchase agreement with Pantel Technologies and Veecon Media & Television for sale of its DTB business Reliance BIG TV. Reliance BIG TV has 1.2 million customers and 500 employees.