Reliance Industries may buy India's top cableco Hathaway

04 Oct 2018

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), parent company of disruptive Indian operator Reliance Jio Infocomm, is reportedly in the early stages of negotiations over a potential acquisition of India’s largest cable operator Hathaway Cable & Datacom.

Reliance Industries is evaluating pursuing the acquisition in order to accelerate the launch of its planned GigaFiber FTTH service,the Economic Timesreported, citing three people familiar with the discussions.

According to the report, talks are still at the exploratory stage, but Reliance Industries is aggressively pursuing the potential merger. The valuation for Hathaway being discussed is around 25 billion rupees ($338.5 million).

Reliance Industries had previously pursued another potential cable TV acquisition – DEN Networks – as part of a previously considered plan to a large multi-service operator and several smaller ones to support the GigaFiber rollout. But these negotiations fell through and RCom decided to go it alone instead, the report adds.

But due to resistance Jio is facing from local cable operators for its goal of extending last mile connectivity in key markets, the company is reportedly looking into reviving the earlier acquisition plan.

Hathaway has more than 11 million digital cable TV subscribers and 800,000 broadband customers, with 90% of these on plans of over 40mbps. The acquisition could therefore deliver an instant boost to Jio’s fixed line broadband plans.

In a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Reliance Industries said it is “unable to comment on media speculation and rumors” regarding the potential acquisition, but that the company “evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis.”

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