The talks about Dish TV’s acquisition by Bharti Airtel’s DTH arm, Airtel Digital TV have been floating around in the market for quite some time now. However, a new report has emerged courtesy of Business Standard which quotes anonymous sources but brings to notice that Bharti Airtel is ready to buy promoter’s stake in Dish TV. As per this new report, Bharti Airtel is willing to give Rs 40-50 per share to purchase promoter’s stake in Dish TV. It is worth noting that Dish TV is a group concern of Zee Entertainment, which is India’s largest entertainment company.
Beginning of the Merger of Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV
There have been some hints about the amalgamation of synergies of the two companies in the past few days. For example, some of the channels which were previously exclusive to Dish TV from Zee like Zee Theater were added to the DTH arm of Bharti Airtel. In addition to this, Zee and Airtel Digital both have also agreed to avail ZEE5’s content which is the OTT app from Zee Entertainment on Airtel’s content app as well. Not only this, but some DTH distributors have also hinted that a deal might be about to close. If this deal goes through, this would be a second M&A decision for Dish TV within the span of a year.
Last year, Dish TV had acquired Videocon D2h, after which it became the largest DTH provider in the country by subscribers. However, the deal happened at a wrong time since the group owning Dish TV also has diversified businesses in other sectors like real estate and construction where they were facing troubled situations. The Zee Essel Group had borrowed around Rs 13,500 crore for its infrastructure business. However, the troubles in the finance industry made things difficult for them and rendered the company unable to service the same. As such, the sale of the promoter’s stake in Dish TV would allow the company to rake in about Rs 4,800 to Rs 5,000 crore.
Dish TV’s Acquisition – Strategic Move by Bharti to Compete Reliance Jio
If Bharti Airtel is to acquire Dish TV, then it would need to make an open offer to investors if it acquires the promoter’s shares in the company. In addition to selling their stake in Dish TV, the troubled group is also looking to sell its share in Zee Entertainment as well which it has decided to sell to an international group with experience in Digital Media. It is also crucial to note that Dish TV has been a hard-to-run company for the Zee Group and it also registered a loss of Rs 1,163 crore in the year ending March 2019 with the revenue of the company being Rs 6,166 crore.
This acquisition will give Airtel Digital TV a headstart over Reliance Jio GigaFiber with 30 million additional subscribers. With the coming of the fibre-based service from Reliance Jio, the sector is expected to heat up with the new competition. As such, Airtel is preparing a two-fold strategy to maintain its position from all sides. It will also likely upgrade the set-top boxes of its consumers to Android-based STBs to match Reliance Jio in its game.