Bharti Airtel has reportedly received FDI clearance from the government for selling 20% stake in its DTH arm to Warburg Pincus. The deal worth USD 350 million was announced way back in December 2017. According to a source close to PTI, the government has cleared the FDI which is required to sell 20% stake in Bharti Telemedia. The source privy to the development said that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approval has been received for the deal, which was announced in December 2017, as reported by PTI.
When contacted, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson declined to comment on the matter. According to the contours of the deal announced in late 2017, Bharti Airtel will sell its 15% stake in the direct-to-home arm, and the balance will be sold by another Bharti entity, which holds 5% stake in the company.
The approval comes at a time when competition in the market is heating up Reliance Jio has already announced it will offer a Set Top Box for TV when it launches ultra-high speed fibre-based broadband services under Reliance Jio GigaFiber name.
Market watchers have said that Jio's aggressive offerings will pose a "serious competition" to TV distributors on both the DTH and cable side, putting further pressure on falling average revenue per user.
Airtel DTH is one of the leading players in the Indian DTH sector with over 20% market share. The other two leading players are Tata Sky and Videocon DTH which share relatively equal market share of around 22%. Airtel is gearing up for a battle with Jio GigaTV IPTV service as it recently announced quad-play platform, dubbed as 'Airtel Home.' Under Airtel Home, Airtel is bundling postpaid, broadband and DTH bills into one, and it even providing discount offers for users who use the service. In the coming weeks, Airtel might beef up DTH offering in the country.