Bharti Airtel to sell another 19% of DTH arm
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Rebecca Hawkes
| 14 March 2018

Indian communications giant Bharti Airtel is transferring a 19% share in its direct-to-home (DTH) arm to Warburg Pincus’ subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments, according to a stock exchange filing.

Warburg Pincus invested up to $300 million in Bharti Televentures between 1999 and 2001, before it was renamed Bharti Airtel in 2006, in exchange for a stake of about 19%. It later exited the company, selling its shares for up to six times the amount it bought them for. The move follows Bharti Airtel’s December announcement of a deal to sell 20% of Bharti Telemedia to the investment firm for US$350 million.

The sale will make Nettle a 44% stakeholder of Airtel Digital TV – India’s third largest commercial DTH platform with about 14 million subscribers.

Part of this stake will be used to complete the share sale in DTH operator Bharti Telemedia to Warburg Pincus, according to BloombergQuint.

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

Bharti Airtel reported net debt of more than INR900 billion in December 2017 and plans capital expenditure worth at least INR250 billion for the financial year 2018-19.