Billionaire Sunil Mittal has started talks to merge the direct-to-home television business housed under Airtel Digital TV with Essel Group's Dish TV, a media report said.
Citing two people with direct knowledge of the development, The Economic Times said that the talks are at an exploratory stage and that the idea behind the proposed merger is to consolidate operations and fight billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
If a deal goes through, the combined entity will have a 61% share in India's DTH market, the report said.
Talk for a deal between Airtel DTH and Dish TV comes at a time when Jio has taken control of Hathway Cable & Datacom and DEN Networks to expand its television and broadband operations. Meanwhile, Essel Group, led by media baron Subhash Chandra and his family, has been looking to sell a stake in some units to reduce debt.
Airtel Digital is backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which had bought a 20% stake in the company in late 2017.
In a separate development, Sterling and Wilson Pvt. Ltd, which houses Shapoorji Pallonji Group’s solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business, is likely to file draft documents for an initial public offering next month, Mint reported
Citing three people aware of the matter, Mint said the company is looking to raise Rs 4,000 crore through the IPO and use the proceeds to pare debt.