Telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd is in the early stages of discussions of buying a majority stake in broadcast satellite service provider Dish TV India Ltd, Mint reported on Thursday, citing people privy to the development.
According to the report, Airtel executives have had discussions with Dish TV parent Essel Group's founder, Subhash Chandra, for the deal.
Accounting firm EY, which Airtel has hired to inspect Dish TV's financials, submitted the due diligence report to the telecom company on October 25, it added.
Shares of Dish TV jumped 4.8 per cent in early trade to hit their upper circuit at Rs 18.40.
Earlier in February 2020, the deal between Dish TV and Bharti Airtel was called off due to differences over valuation. The promoters were in talks with a global financial investor, which had no operations in the country, to pick up half their stake, according to a report in Busineeessss Standard.
In the same report, it was mentioned that Airtel had been looking at expanding its DTH operations in order to take on Reliance Jio’s aggressive strategy to reach homes through fibre-to-the-home and bring in high-speed broadband. Had it worked out, the acquisition of Dish TV would have catapulted Bharti Airtel into the position of the largest player in the DTH market with a market share of over 54.62 per cent, overtaking Tata Sky.
Bharti Airtel has followed a dual strategy. Apart from DTH services, it is also the second largest player in fibre-to-the-home with 2.2 million broadband users. This puts it behind BSNL but far ahead of Reliance Jio which has over one million users.
However, in 2019, Reliance Jio bought Hathway and Den Cable which both have fixed broadband customers. The Essel Group (parent of Dish TV) has been gripped by serious financial crises due to its foray into infrastructure projects for which it took loans by pledging ZEEL shares. It has been trying to improve its finances.