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India’s Siti and DEN merger talks?

Two giant India cable MSOs are reportedly in exploratory merger talks. Siti Cable, owned by Subhash Chandra/Essel Group (which also owns the Dish TV/Zee broadcasting empire) is already one of India’s largest cable operators with about 7.8 million connected homes.  The talks are with DEN Networks, which has a subscriber base of some 8.5 million homes.

Local sources say the talks could end with Siti and DEN creating a joint-venture, or with Siti buying DEN.  Siti and DEN are already working together in a scheme to jointly negotiate carriage deals with content providers.

Siti has been on an acquisition spree over the past year or so, buying either majority positions of establishing partnerships with regional cable operators. Goldman Sachs owns a 17.8 percent stake in DEN.

Siti Cable has denied the accuracy of the report.

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