Scatmag.com

November 2018

JIO BUYS HATHWAY & DEN



In one swift move, Mukesh Ambaniâ's Reliance Industries paid ₹ 5,230 Crores to buy majority stake in India's 2 major cable TV & broadband companies:

 Hathway Cable & Datacom: 51.3%

 DEN Networks: 66%


HATHWAY

Reliance will invest ₹ 2,940 crore in Hathway for 51.3% stake via a preferential issue of shares at a share price of ₹ 32.35. (Market price was approx ₹ 30 on that day).

The fresh fundraising will help Hathway and DEN infuse funds for capital expenditure and increase competitive activity.


DEN

In DEN, Reliance will make a primary investment of ₹ 2,045 crore through a preferential issue at ₹ 72.66 per share and a secondary purchase of ₹ 245 crore from existing promoters Sameer Manchanda and others. The transaction will give RIL 66% stake in the company.


24 M CABLE HOMES

The 2 purchases provide Reliance 24 million Cable homes, probably making it the largest Cable TV operator in the world. However, the ARPUs of these assets are miniscule by international standards.






ADDITIONAL PURCHASES

As per SEBI regulations, the investments will also trigger open offers in DEN, Hathway, and Hathway's subsidiary companies GTPL Hathway, (where Hathway owns 37.3% stake) as well as Hathway Bhawani Cabletel.

RIL also said it will ensure compliance with all the regulatory and statutory requirements at all times and work towards systematic growth of the sector. "We are glad to join hands with Rajan Raheja (Hathway promoter) and Sameer Manchanda (DEN), 2 of the pioneers in MSO industry," Ambani said in a statement.





NETWORK UPGRADES

A Reliance media release said it will "work together" with Hathway and DEN and all the LCOs to offer a "quick and affordable upgrade" to a world class lineup of JioGigaFiber and Jio Smart-Home Solutions to the 24 million existing cable connected homes of these companies across 750 cities.


PRO LCO?

In a very supportive, pro-Cable TV industry statement, Mukesh D. Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, RIL commented, "With Local Cable Operators now as part of the Jio ecosystem, we look forward to bringing Jio's advanced JioGigaFiber and Smart Home Solutions to more Indian homes, even quicker. We look forward to welcoming other MSOs and LCOs to be part of this partnership. This will result in growing wireline data connectivity in India and making state-of-the-art high-speed affordable internet and digital services accessible to the widest population in the shortest possible time."


INDUSTRY CAUTIOUS

LCOs are cautious as they are not sure where they stand in the new scheme of things.

Many complain that Hathway and DEN have taken home all the money, without any share to the LCOs. Factually, DEN and Hathway directly own only about 10% of the cable TV homes serviced. They however own most of the broadband homes, and pay LCOs a 15% commission to service the subscribers and collect payments, which are being increasing shifted to online collections.


INDUSTRY BODIES

Industry bodies remained cautious. In its statement, the Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) said:

MCOF congratulates JIO on acquiring majority stake in Hathway and Den.

If JIO has done a proper due diligence then it would know that Hathway has NOT paid majority of the Cable TV Operators their due share of committed Broadband Revenue since several years despite an Executed Agreement with them, thus these liability remains pending and we hope that under JIO not only these are duly paid up but they get an Just and Fair share in the Businesses to come.

Most of the Cable Operators are capable to execute Jio's Giga Fiber to their nearly 3 decades old Cable TV as also nearly 2 decades old Broadband Subscribers in return of fair revenue share else we are capable to do our own Giga fiber for our valued subscribers, a Cooperative Co. for same is already formed and Giga Fiber to Home role out has already started.

We look forward to understanding how much JIO is committed to working with our LMOs (Last Mile Owners) Members across Maharashtra in this Golden Era of Digitisation?


INDIAN BROADBAND

According to the TRAI's July 2018 report, the number of wired broadband subscribers remained almost constant at 17.95 million in July compared to 17.9 million in June 2018. As on 31st July 2018, the top 5 Wired Broadband Service providers were:

 BSNL (9.15 M),

 Bharti Airtel (2.21 M)

 Atria (1.34 M)

 MTNL (0.83 M) &

 Hathway (0.75 M).

In contrast, there were 447.12 million wireless broadband subscribers, up 2.93%. The top 5 telcos had 97.75% market share, viz: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (227.05 million), Bharti Airtel (95.33 million), Vodafone (63.79 million), Idea Cellular (43.52 million) and BSNL (20.18 million).

Reliance's purchase of Hathway and DEN does not tilt the pecking order of wired broadband providers - yet.

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