Merged entity would become Indian DTH market leader, according to local news report

Tata Group and Bharti Enterprises are working on a potential merger of their television operations, it emerged on Monday.

Fresh from announcing that Bharti will acquire Tata’s consumer mobile operations and integrate them with its own, the telcos are discussing other possible business combinations, including combining the Airtel DTH operations with Tata Sky, according to an Indian press report.

The pair have entered due diligence on the TV merger, with any deal at least two months away from being finalised, business new channel CNBC-TV18 reported, citing unnamed sources.

Should any deal emerge, the combined entity would become the largest player in the Indian direct-to-home TV market with a 44% share, the news outlet said. As it stands, Tata Sky and Airtel DTH have roughly equal market shares at 23% and 21% respectively.

Dish TV is the leading operator, with a 25% share, CNBC-TV18 said. The Indian DTH market has 61.2 million subscribers.

The companies have made no direct comment on the rumours.

When they announced their mobile merger, the telcos said that Tata was exploring the possibility of merging its retail fixed-line and broadband operations with Tata Sky, but also suggested there could be further deals brokered between the pair of them.

"Tata and Bharti Airtel will work together to further explore other mutual areas of cooperation, that will be value accretive for both the groups," they said.