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Big TV, Carlyle in talks to raise $50-100 mn
Big TV, the Anil Ambani group’s direct-to-home services provider, is in final stages of negotiations with Carlyle Group, the global private equity major, to raise around $50-100 million (Rs 240-Rs 480 crore).

This is part of the company’s plan to raise $200 million (Rs 960 crore) mainly through equity, for which it has appointed Deutsche Bank as the lead arranger. The DTH service provider intends to use the proceeds for corporate purposes, including expansion of services.

“The companies (Big TV and Carlyle) have already agreed upon the board contours of the deal. However, finalisation of the exact amount of investment and stake to be exchanged have, among others, to be finalised,” according to a source.

Big TV is also in talks with other private equity majors, though these are at preliminary stages, to raise funds. The exact quantum of funding to be raised from Carlyle would depend on the “promises” by players, he said. The company is also in discussions with major players like The Blackstone Group, Providence and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for raising funds.

When asked, a Big TV spokesperson declined to comment. Calls to Carlyle’s India head, Shankar Narayanan, on this deal went unanswered.

At present, Big TV is a second-rung player in the Indian DTH sector, with over 1.5 million subscribers (compared with Dish TV’s 5.1 million users).

At present, regulations permit Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) of upto 49 per cent in DTH, with a rider that the FDI cannot exceed 20 per cent within the overall foreign investment cap.

Earlier, Tata Sky had sold off a 10 per cent stake to the Singapore government-owned Temasek for $56 million in 2007. Tata Sky has around 3.5 million subscribers.

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