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Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus will acquire up to a 20 percent stake in Airtel's DTH arm Bharti Telemedia for $350 million. Of this, 15 percent stake will be sold by Bharti Airtel and the balance by another Bharti entity which holds 5 percent stake.
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. It had approximately 14 million subscribers and approximately $550 million in revenues during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2017.
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 growing 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," Vittal said.
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.
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."
The Company has a strong distribution infrastructure, 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.
Upon closing of the transaction, Airtel will own an 80 percent equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited.