In a bid to take on the might of its arch rival Reliance Jio, Sunil Bharti Mittal led Airtel is reportedly in talks with Dish TV, to merge Airtel Digital TV with the Direct To Home (DTH) player.
Citing sources familiar with the development , Economic Times reported that Sunil Bharti Mittal has initiated “exploratory” talks to merge the direct-to-home business under Airtel Digital TV with Essel Group's Dish TV.
"The talks are at exploratory stage. Idea is to consolidate operations and give a strong fight to Reliance Jio. Together, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV will be a giant," Economic Times quoted the source as saying.
According to TRAI data, Dish TV (which merged with Videocon D2h last year) leads the market with a 37 per cent share, followed by Tata Sky with 27 per cent share. Airtel Digital TV holds 24 per cent share in the market.
If a deal fructifies, the new combined entity would be the world’s largest TV distribution player with a whopping 38 million subscribers and a 61 per cent share of India’s DTH market.
The Indian DTH space has been witnessing a move towards consolidation. Last March, Dish TV completed its merger with Videocon D2h business.
Last October, it was widely reported that Tata Group and Bharti Enterprise are in talks to merge their DTH (direct to home) businesses.
However, in December, Bharti Group announced the sale of 20 per cent of its stake in its DTH unit, Bharti Telemedia, to private equity firm Warburg Pincus for $350 million (Rs 2,258 crore).
The proceeds were raised to help Bharti Airtel, the group’s flagship telecom firm to fight off competition from Reliance Jio Infocomm.
In October last year, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries acquired majority interest in the India’s two largest cable TV and broadband companies: Hathway Cable and DEN Networks.
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