Business

December 13, 2017

Airtel sells 20% DTH arm to Warburg Pincus for $350 m


Airtel

Private equity giant Warburg Pincus will buy a minority stake in the direct-to-home television arm of Bharti Airtel Ltd, a decade-and-a-half after reaping blockbuster gains on its investment in the mobile-phone company.

Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus’ affiliate will acquire a 20 percent stake in Bharti Telemedia Ltd, the direct-to-home (DTH) arm of Airtel.

On December 12, a common announcement by Bharti Airtel and Warburg Pincus stated that the deal, which is valued at $350 million, will see Bharti Airtel selling a 15 percent stake with the remaining 5 percent sold by another Bharti entity.

Upon closure of the transaction, Airtel will own an 80 percent stake in Bharti Telemedia. Viraj Sawhney, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus India, will join the Board of Bharti Telemedia as part of the transaction.

In the joint statement, Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and 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.”

“We look forward to working with Warburg Pincus towards achieving our vision of making Airtel TV India’s leading DTH platform,” he added.

Bharti Telemedia, the DTH paid TV service provider, which offers services under the Airtel TV brand, had around 14 million subscribers and about $550 million in revenues during the 12-month period that ended on September 30, 2017.

Airtel TV, which was launched in 2008, has over 1,500 partners and over 1, 58,000 recharge outlets in more than 630 districts.

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 capitalise on incremental growth in digitisation and new TV penetration in Tier 3 and 4 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,” he added, in the statement.

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