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Digital TV to Sell 49% Stake to Foreign Investors

Following the imminent hike in foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in DTH to 74 per cent, Reliance Digital TV (formerly known as Big TV) is looking to forge an oversees alliance by selling up to 49 per cent stake in its DTH venture. According to reports, if the deal goes through, it will raise Rs 2,000-2,500 crore.

Prospective buyers include overseas private equity investors, broadcast and cable companies like Comcast Corporation, the largest cable operator, home Internet service provider and the fourth largest home telephone service provider in the US.

Digital TV is the only DTH provider that doesn't have a foreign stake, and is now looking for funds to more than double its subscriber base from around 4 million in the next 12 to 18 months.

Tata Sky has STAR Group and Singapore-based PE firm Temasek as foreign investors. Sun Direct has partnered with Malaysia's Astro while Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV too have overseas partners.

Sanjay Behl, CEO, Reliance DTH and IPTV, said, "DTH is a capital-intensive industry that requires substantial investment. Our four-screen strategy is to dominate mobile, computers, television and cinema, in which we already have significant presence. Reliance Digital TV has among the best ARPU in the industry and higher percentage of active subscriber base which will only become better going forward."
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