Bharti Airtel operates one of India’s giant DTH businesses with some 18 million subscribers. Twenty per cent of Airtel DTH was held by US private equity investors Warburg Pincus. Bharti is to buy back that investment.
Bharti Airtel says it will pay 31.26 billion Rupees (about €354m) to Warburg Pincus. Airtel had sold the stake to Warburg three years ago. About two-thirds of the sum will be met through an issue of shares, while the rest will be paid in cash.
In an announcement, Bharti says: “The proposed transaction is part of Airtel’s strategy to align the shareholding of its customer-facing products, services and businesses under the same holding group. A full control and ownership over Bharti Telemedia allows Airtel to offer differentiated and converged solutions to customers so as to promote ‘One Home’ strategy.”
The Airtel DTH unit falls under the umbrella of Bharti Telemedia. In addition, Bharti Airtel confirms the formation of a special committee to assess options for reorganising the businesses and shareholding structure, stating it would place suitable recommendations to the Airtel board for consideration and/ or approval”.
“DTH is an integral part of our homes strategy and this transaction is another step towards simplifying the shareholding of our customer-facing businesses providing structural flexibility and ease of implementation,” Harjeet Kohli, group director, Bharti Enterprises, said in the statement.