February 17, 2021
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd said on Wednesday it will buy U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus’ 20% stake in its direct-to-home television arm for 31.26 billion rupees ($429.31 million).
Bharti Airtel, which is looking to consolidate the shareholding of its consumer facing businesses, said it will issue about 36.5 million shares to a Warburg Pincus affiliate at 600 rupees per share, and pay up to 10.38 billion rupees in cash.
Lion Meadow Investment, a Warburg Pincus affiliate, bought the stake in Bharti Telemedia in 2017.
Bharti Airtel said on Wednesday it has set up a special committee to evaluate options for reorganising its businesses and shareholding structure, as the company sharpens focus on its digital and non-telecom businesses.
The company’s core telecom business in India has come under pressure since Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio entered the space with cut-price tariffs, pushing players such as Airtel to focus on digital services.
Last August, Airtel tied up with Amazon Web Services to develop its own cloud business, allowing the telecom operator to offer a wider range of products to its enterprise clients.
India’s wireless market, with over a billion subscribers, has tariffs that are among the cheapest in the world while airwaves are among the most expensive.
($1 = 72.8140 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)