Private equity firm Warburg Pincus has signed a deal with Bharti Airtel to acquire 20% stake in Bharti Telemedia, the DTH business of the company, for $350 million. Of this, 15% stake will be sold by Bharti Airtel and the balance by another Bharti entity which holds 5% stake. Upon closing of the transaction, Airtel will own an 80% equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited.
The Airtel board has 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.
With this acquisition, Bharti Telemedia’s valuation goes up to $1.8 billion whereas its revenue was around $550 million for 12 month period ended September 2017.
“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,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.
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 digitization 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.”
Airtel TV, the DTH brand of Bharti Airtel, was launched in 2008 and at present is one of the largest paid TV brands. It has approximately 14 million subscribers and with over 1,500 partners and over 158,000 recharge outlets in approximately 630 districts of the country. It is led by Sunil Taldar, who joined as CEO in 2016 and brings over 28 years of experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry across Asia.