Bharti Airtel today announced that an affiliate of Warburg Pincus would acquire up to 20% equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited, the DTH arm of Airtel, for approximately USD 350 million. Warburg Pincus is a global private equity firm focused on growth investing. Out of 20% stake, 15% will be sold by Bharti Airtel and the balance 5% by another Bharti entity.
DTH Business in India is not doing good in India in recent times. Bharti Telemedia is one of the largest Direct-To-Home (DTH) paid TV service providers in India and offers services under the Airtel TV brand. To be precise, Airtel Digital TV has over 14 million subscribers and is currently the third leading DTH service provider in India. It has USD 550 million in revenues during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2017.
"Airtel TV, which was launched in 2008, has grown to become a top three in-home entertainment player with industry-leading profitability," said Airtel in a press statement.
Currently, Airtel has a strong distribution infrastructure with over 1,500 partners and over 158,000 recharge outlets in approximately 630 districts of the country. The company is currently led by Sunil Taldar, who joined back in 2016.
Upon closing of the transaction with Warburg Pincus, Airtel will own an 80% equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said, “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. Airtel TV is very well positioned in the DTH space, and we are committed to grow our share of the market through a combination of innovation, value engineering, customer service and distribution initiatives. We look forward to working with Warburg Pincus towards achieving our vision of making Airtel TV India’s leading DTH platform.”
Vishal Mahadevia, Managing Director and Co-Head, Warburg Pincus India, said, “The Indian Digital TV market is expanding rapidly, and we believe that Airtel DTH is well positioned to capitalize on incremental growth in digitisation and new TV penetration in Tier 3 and four towns and rural areas. We are pleased to be working alongside Sunil Bharti Mittal and the Bharti group again following our successful partnership many years ago, and we look forward to supporting the management team during the next phase of the Company’s growth.”
The Airtel board has already approved the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals. As part of the transaction, Viraj Sawhney, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus India, will join the board of Bharti Telemedia Limited right after the deal.