The promoters of the Essel Group are now in talks with a global financial investor to pick up half of their stake.

Dish TV-Bharti Airtel deal falls through over differences in valuation
Money Deals Friday, February 21, 2020 - 10:39

Bharti Airtel’s move to acquire DTH operator Dish TV appears to have fallen through since the two parties could not come to an agreement over valuation of the company, Business Standard reports. Dish TV is promoted by the Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, more popularly known as the Zee Group, with varied interests in media and entertainment.

The group has debts to the tune of around Rs 2,500 crore and is trying to pare these debts down to manageable levels. This attempt at selling the DTH foray was part of this exercise to raise funds for the Group. It is now learnt that the promoters of Dish TV are in talks with a foreign investor who may just be a financial investor with no interest in the day to day management. The promoters may enjoy continued control over the company, the sources indicate. On the table is 50% of the stake owned by the promoters which is around 53% in the company. This means approximately 25% may be on offer to the investor.

The promoters wish to shore up their holding in the main Zee Enterprises where they are a minority shareholder currently with foreign and Indian investors. The proceeds of offloading the equity in Dish TV is expected to be used to buy back shares in Zee. The promoters wish to increase their stakes in their flagship venture to 26% eventually.  

Dish TV is currently enjoying a market share of around 31% almost the same as Tata Sky in the direct-to-home TV space. Bharti Airtel is the third with around 23%. The competition is heating up with Reliance Jio entering with its fibre-to-home broadband cum set-top box strategy and it can be a huge disruptor as it proved to be in the telecom space. This was the reason Bharti Airtel was keen on acquiring Dish TV in the first place.

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