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Bharti Won’t Be Selling That DTH Stake

Earlier this year, I wrote about how Bharti Airtel supposedly “intended” to sell its DTH arm, in a post titled “If you want to do, do. Then say.”. The incredibly detailed press article had details on what kind of valuation they expected ($1 bn) and that NDAs had been signed etc. I was surprised:

This I can’t digest. Airtel wants to sell stake, that’s okay. But to reveal that it’s already signed an NDA, with named players, with already a number out there about how much it’s looking for…who does this? Deals happen behind closed doors, numbers are discussed face to face, in the back seat of a car or over a phone conversation. No one gives you information in such detail BEFORE the deal has been done.

And now, it turns out the DTH stake sale has been scrapped:

India’s largest telecoms operator, Bharti Airtel, has shelved plans to sell a large stake in its direct-to-home (DTH) business Airtel Digital TV after talks failed with financial and strategic investors, sources directly familiar with the matter told TOI. Sunil Mittal-led Bharti was negotiating to sell at least 25% in the DTH unit valuing it about $1.5 billion, however, the telecoms-to-retail group was unable to get the desired valuation from prospective buyers, which included Los Angeles-based investment firm Saban Capital, PE firm Carlyle and Liberty Media.

I’m just going to reiterate that the news sounded very strange, and I’m not surprised it ended this way.

Bharti’s stock, which was at 370 two weeks back, has fallen all the way to Rs. 327, falling 2.7% on Tuesday. It is just marginally higher than when the news first broke out.

This post is just a placeholder to know how that cookie crumbled.