Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV Yet to Form Biggest DTH Company of India as Merger Remains Afloat

The talks of Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV merger had surfaced back in March but they still remain in the pending stage

  • Dish TV is not ready to sell below Rs 45 per share
  • Airtel Digital TV, Warburg Pincus and Singtel want to pay Rs 35 per share to Dish TV
  • If merged, the resulting company would boast of 61% market share

In the DTH sector, which is especially in a lot of headlines these days, there are a handful of players which occupy a large share of the pie and the top names include Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV, D2h along with some regional players like Sun Direct. In the recent times, as per a Trai report on the subscriber base of all the DTH operators, Tata Sky has emerged as a clear winner by boasting of the most number of subscribers in the industry right now. Tata Sky surpassed Dish TV to become the DTH industry leader. However, now that Tata Sky is at the top of the list with the most market share in the industry, that does not mean that this position is solid for the DTH company. There is one event that threatens the position of Tata Sky on this top spot, and that is the Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV merger. If this merger goes through, then, it would a similar event as Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merger.


Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV Together Would Make a DTH Behemoth

To recall, when Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merged, they made the biggest telecom operator of the country which surpassed every other operator in the telecom industry. This is how Vodafone Idea remained with the most subscriber market share for a long stint of months until it was surpassed by Reliance Jio only a few weeks back. Similarly, if the Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV merger goes through, then the resulting DTH company would boast of having a little short of 39 million subscribers, and it would be the largest TV distribution company with a whopping 61% market share in the industry. But, the road is not smooth for Airtel Digital TV as it tries to merge with Dish TV since there are a lot of hurdles majorly in the department of price negotiations for both the companies.

Talks Inconclusive Over Share Price

To recall, the talks of Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV merger fist began when Sunil Bharti Mittal approached the Essel Group for stake sale in Dish TV. Now Essel World is on the idea of selling Dish TV because the business entity is facing rough waters on its other business fronts. Essel Group had offered to sell 57.52% stake in Dish TV at the share price of Rs 45 per share which was much higher than what the trio comprising of Bharti Airtel, Warburg Pincus and the Singaporean telecom operator Singtel were ready to pay. As per the trio who want to buy the shares, the fair price remains at Rs 35 per share which would give Dish TV Rs 3,707 crore which is much below than what Dish TV is expecting, a figure of Rs 4,766 crore for the said stake.

Decision on Merger Still Pending

It is also worth noting that at the time when the talks about the stake sale of Dish TV surfaced and the possible merger with Airtel Digital TV, Reliance Jio has also bought a stake in the two cable companies namely, DEN Networks and Hathway Cable and Datacom. This is also possible that the move by the competition might have led Airtel Digital TV to explore this option. However, in the period of the last few months, the Dish TV stock has been falling rapidly, which has created concern for the Singtel, Warburg Pincus and Airtel Digital TV trio. Now it remains to be seen whether or not the talks of the merger of Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV reach any conclusion.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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