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ADAG eyes cable distribution
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#1
New Delhi: After DTH, FM radio and film production, distribution & exhibition, the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) may soon get a slice of the cable distribution business in the country.

Investment banking sources say London-based private equity fund Ashmore Investment may soon swap a significant portion (over 20%) of its stake in Digicable, a leading cable distribution firm, with that of Big TV, the direct-to-home (DTH) arm of Reliance Adag, or its subsidiary firms. “Talks are on between Ashmore and Reliance on this matter,” a person familiar with the matter said.

Ashmore had picked up a 49% stake in Digicable three years ago and has been looking at restructuring its investments in the cable business in favour of the fast-growing DTH business that has over 20-million subscribers, giving higher returns, compared to 2 million digital cable subscribers.

Once struck, the deal will give ADAG access to Digicable’s cable business in several cities and a share in the Rs 2,500-crore annual cable subscription revenues.

“Owning a cable distribution business will help Reliance push its TV channels to a significant number of cable subscribers, which are five times the size of its existing DTH subscriber-base,” an analyst said.

<img style="float:left; margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px;" src="http://static.expressindia.com/expressindia/newpic/adag.jpg" />Also, it will help Reliance get a say in the headend-in-the-sky (HITS) business of Digicable, sources say. Digicable has already applied for a HITS licence, a satellite-based system of distribution of cable channels recently approved by the government for faster digitalisation of the current analogue cable distribution platform.

This move may also help Reliance Big TV fund its expansion plans in the near future through Ashmore’s Rs 1,200-crore funds earmarked for the Indian media and entertainment sector. Also, Reliance ADAG is bullish on the broadcasting business as it has applied for over 100 television licence under the brand name “Big”.

However, when contacted, a Big TV spokesperson denied any such move. An e-mail query sent to Ashmore UK remained unanswered.

When asked whether Reliance ADAG or any of its group subsidiaries may have picked up a stake in Digicable, directly or indirectly, JS Kohli, CEO, Digicable, said: “No.” He further added: “I do not wish to respond to such baseless and speculative gossip being spread by vested interests.”

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#2
Omg !!! adag in cable , first they have to repair BIG TV , 5 months of channel testing !!!!
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