April 2018



The Bharti Airtel board has approved the transfer of 19% equity share in its direct to home (DTH) subsidiary Bharti Telemedia to a subsidiary company Nettle Infrastructure Investments. The board has also approved a plan to raise about ₹ 16,500 crore through debt, including a fresh issue of $1 billion in overseas bonds.

A part of the stake will be utilised for the completion of stake sale in Bharti Telemedia to Warburg Pincus Group. In December 2017, Bharti Airtel had agreed to sell 20% equity stake in Bharti Telemedia to Warburg Pincus for approximately $350 million.

Speculation is that upto 44% stake in Airtel DTH may be sold by Bharti, to get cash to update its telecom infrastructure.

Bharti Telemedia, which provides DTH service under Airtel Digital TV brand, had a turnover of ₹ 3435.8 crore in FY17 comprising 6% of Airtel total revenue. The DTH arm had a negative net-worth of ₹ 2782.7 crore.


ZEEL has called off its deal to buy 9X Media & INX Music.

"This is further to our communication dated October 6, 2017, providing relevant details of the proposed acquisition of 100% equity stake in 2 Media entities viz. 9X Media Private Limited and INX Music Private Limited (9X entities). In this regard, we wish to inform you that the said acquisition deal has been terminated/ called-off by the Company inter alia due to non-completion of certain material Conditions Precedent," ZEEL said in a filing to the BSE.

ZEEL was to acquire from New Silk Route, 91.45 million shares (₹ 10 each) of 9X Media for ₹ 155.2 crore & also acquire 29.15% stake in INX Music for ₹ 4.8 crore. 9X Media operates 6 music channels:

9XM (Latest Bollywood), 9X Jalwa (Evergreen Hindi), 9X Jhakaas (Marathi), 9X Tashan (Punjabi), 9XO (English), 9X Bajao (Hindi Classics) & also Punjabi music channel 9X Tashan through a joint venture. Sandeep Bansal, who grew up as a cable TV operator, has a 34% stake in the JV.

The deal would have provided an exit to private equity firm New Silk Route (NSR) which owns close to 80% stake in 9X Media.


In a discussion with analysts recently, Sun TV Network President R Mahesh Kumar said Sun TV c o u l d increase its subscription revenue by ₹ 350-400 once analog is switched off in Tamil Nadu.

Currently, Sun TV Network roughly earns ₹ 270 crore subscription revenue per quarter including ₹ 180 crore from DTH operators & ₹ 90 Crore from the cable TV operators.

The state government-owned Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation, which is the dominant MSO in the state, pays a flat fee of just ₹ 2.5 crore to Sun TV Network. This would increase dramatically. Arasu has committed to switch off analog by 31st March 2018.

Sun TV is the largest broadcaster in Tamil Nadu with a 70% market share. Kumar said that a total of 3 million STBs have been seeded of which Arasu has seeded an estimated 1.5 million STBs. Tamil Nadu has a universe of 12.5 million TV homes.

Sun TV Network had a cash balance of ₹ 1,700 crore till December. The company wants to maintain its liquidity as it might want to acquire assets.


Bengali f i l m producer Prasad V P o t l u r i (PVP) has d e n i e d reports that he is buying popular news channel TV9 for ₹ 700 crore.

While PVP did explore the purchase a year ago, it did not work out.

The TV9 channel is reportedly in talks with financial investors, for sale of ABCL's (Associated Broadcasting Company Pvt. Ltd.) stake.

TV9 was established in 2004 by Ravi Prakash.

80% of the channel's stake is with financial investors while the Ravi Prakash & his associates own about 18% stake. Even though Ravi Prakash holds minority stake, he holds the veto power to pick suitable acquirers.


On 6th August 2018, SITI Networks' stock price hit a 4-year (since Sept 2013) low of ₹ 15.70.

In the past 6 trading sessions, the MSO's market value fell 19% after the HDFC Asset Management Company sold more than 5.86 million equity shares in the open market.

At the same time, Dish TV India too was traded at ₹ 68.10, close to its 52-week low of ₹ 68 (October 24, 2017).


Ortel's board of directors have approved the issue of equity shares to promoter/ promoter group entities not exceeding ₹ 8.75 crore @ ₹ 35 per share on preferential basis.

The board has also approved the issue of 5 year, 9% cumulative, non-convertible, redeemable preference shares for an amount not exceeding ₹ 10 crore by private placement.

It has also approved the acceptance of fresh inter-corporate loan of ₹ 8 crore at 9% per annum for a period of 5 years.

The MSO has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary 'Ortel Broadband' with an authorised capital of ₹ 10 lakh & a paid up capital of ₹ 1 lakh. Ortel MD Jagi Mangat Panda has been appointed as Director on the board of Ortel Broadband.


The I&B ministry has asked the CBI to probe graft charges against court re-instated NFDC MD - Ms. Nina Lath Gupta Ms. Gupta was sacked from government-owned NFDC (National Film Development Corporation) on February 27. She obtained a stay order from the Delhi High Court on 8 March & resumed her duties.

The allegations include release of advertisements to select private channels in excess of the prescribed 5% limit, non-refund of 15% commission to client ministry and charging ministries an additional fee over the actual expenses incurred, in holding government events such as MODI (Making of Developed India) Festival and Khelo India.

Interestingly, Gupta-led NFDC, produced a documentary film 'In Pursuit of Truth'• chronicling the 50- year history & accomplishments of the CBI for which Gupta received praise from the then CBI Director Ranjit Sinha.

Gupta, formerly an officer of the Indian Revenue Services, took charge of NFDC in April 2006 and has approximately 7 years to retirement. n