The merger talks between Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV finally fell apart over valuation. The country’ second and third largest DTH operators have been in talks for more than eight months to create the world’s largest DTH operator. However, the talks have now called off and the merger is not happening. Essel Group, the promoters of Dish TV, is now said to be looking for a global financial investor to pick up half of the stake in the DTH operator. Dish TV is currently the second largest DTH player in India only sitting behind Tata Sky. Essel Group will now be looking to generate some cash by selling Dish TV’ stake so that it can use the cash to buy back 5% of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL).
Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV Merger Cancelled
After being in talks for more than eight months, the merger talks between Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV have ended. The merger is not happening over valuation issues. A recent report said that Essel Group is looking for an all-cash deal so that it can buy back ZEEL, however, Airtel Digital TV is willing to have an all-stock deal. When we reported last time, it was said that the merged talks were in the hold, but a new report from Business Standard says the talks have ended and the merger is not happening.
The latest report also says Essel Group is looking for a ‘global financial investor’ who can buy half of Dish TV’ stakes. The group is expecting around Rs 2,000 crore from the deal if it finds any investor. “The cash generated from such a sale will be used as part of the plan by the Essel group to buy back 5% in flagship company Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) in the next 12 months,” added the report.
Airtel Digital TV Would Have Benefitted With Dish TV Merger
While Essel Group was keen on merging with Airtel Digital TV, the deal would have actually benefitted the latter. Dish TV has a market share of over 30% and a subscriber base of 23.94 million, whereas Airtel Digital TV has just 23.69% market share with a subscriber base hovering around 15-16 million. Dish TV is in safe hands as it might regain the top spot from Tata Sky very soon, but it will take several years for Airtel Digital TV to catch up with Dish TV and Tata Sky.
In addition to that, Bharti Airtel is facing the heat from Reliance Jio which has already acquired Hathway and DEN Networks. The DTH arm of Bharti Airtel is aggressively looking to expand DTH operations to take on Jio’s Triple Play service.
There’s no doubt that Dish TV is in severe financial troubles, but once the new Trai NTO 2.0 becomes effective, the company is expected to settle down. It will be interesting to see how Airtel Digital TV takes on Reliance Jio going forward and the latter from acquiring new customers.