A while back speculations were floating around the industry that the merger deal between Bharti Airtel’s DTH arm, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV might fall apart following a disagreement over share prices. However, as per a new report by Economic Times, Dish TV, private equity firm, Warburg Pincus and Airtel Digital TV have reached an agreement regarding the merger of the DTH companies. As per the sources aware of the matter who have informed of this development, a formal announcement from the companies can be expected in the period of 4 to 6 weeks. To recall, Dish TV was last unwilling to sell its shares below the prices of Rs 45 to which Airtel Digital TV and Warburg Pincus had disapproved.
Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV Reportedly Reach Agreement Over Prices
One of the sources stated above said that the partial stake sale in Essel Group-owned Zee (Zee Entertainment Enterprises) has been completed and now the promoters are focusing on completing the Dish TV merger. The person remarked, “The talks were on hold because Essel Group promoters were busy with ZEE stake sale. Now that it is done, the three parties gave come back to the table to stitch the deal.” The second source said that the deal would be of very complex structure. He further added, “Various options are being worked out, which are tax neutral. Lawyers and advisers at all three ends are working on various options.”
It was back in March 2018 that Mittal had first reached out to the Essel Group promoters about the merger of DTH operations. This move came from Bharti Group leader after Reliance Jio bought a majority stake in two of the prominent multi-system operators (MSOs) DEN Networks and Hathway Cable and Datacom. Currently, Dish TV remains the largest DTH service provider in India. When the merger goes through, together Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV will make the largest TV distribution company which would boast of having about 39 million subscribers. The company would also have a 61% market share in the Indian DTH market.
Merged Entity to Boast of Biggest Market Share
In the July month when the talks about the Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV merger moved ahead, the Warburg-Singtel duo were offering the share price of Rs 35 per share. At this price, the buyers were looking towards a 57.52% stake in Dish TV. At the proposed share price, Dish TV would have received Rs 3,707 crore, but Dish TV had remarked that it was looking for a much higher price of Rs 45 per share. This would have netted the Essen Group Owned DTH company Rs 4,766 crore. In the meantime, the shares of Dish TV India have been falling, and the market has been seeing big corrections in the prices. If the merger goes through then together, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV will be able to fend off Reliance Jio and its pursuit of conquering the DTH and broadband sector.