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Bharti Airtel sells 20% stake in DTH arm to Warburg Pincus for $350 million

Upon closing of the transaction, Airtel will own an 80% equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited.

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel said that Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing will acquire up to a 20% equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited, the DTH arm of Airtel, for around $350 million. Of this, 15% stake will be sold by Bharti Airtel and the balance by another Bharti entity which holds 5% stake, the telco said in a statement.

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.

Upon closing of the transaction, Airtel will own an 80% equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited.

“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,” Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said in a joint statement.

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Bharti Telemedia offers DTH services under the Airtel TV brand. It had around 14 million subscribers and around $550 million in revenues during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2017.

Airtel said that the DTH brand 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 ATaldar, who joined as CEO in 2016 and brings over 28 years of experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry across Asia.

“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,” Vishal Mahadevia, Managing Director and Co-Head, Warburg Pincus India, said.

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