India’s fastest-growing direct-to-home pay-TV provider, Videocon d2h Limited, has completed its initial listing on the NASDAQ through a transaction with Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp, the acquisition vehicle formed by media executives Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky. Silver Eagle contributed about $273.3M to Videocon in exchange for stock distributed to Silver Eagle’s investors. That makes this one of the largest investments by a U.S. entity in Indian media. Public trading of the Videocon American Depository Shares began today under the ticker VDTH.
At open, the approximately 37.75M shares issued to Silver Eagle stockholders were valued at about $453M based on the opening price of $12 per ADS.
The fast-growing Indian economy is creating new pay-TV households throughout the country with Mumbai-based Videocon leading the industry in active new subscriber growth for the last four years. The company, which began operations in 2009, distributes over 500 digital TV channels and other video and audio services to about 13M subscribers via direct satellite feeds. It is the first satellite TV service in India to roll out the 4K format and is the only pay-TV operator which runs its own service centers.
Silver Eagle’s management team has experience in the sector. Sloan is the former CEO of MGM Studios. During his tenure, he operated the MGM channel in India as well as MGM themed channels in several other global markets. He was also the founder, Chairman and CEO of SBS Broadcasting. Formerly co-President of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sagansky was responsible for the international build-out of Sony channels, including in India and the AXN channels in Asia. Sony, Viacom and Fox are active in the channels and content business in India. Both Sloan and Sagansky are expected to join the board of Videocon d2h.
Sagansky noted that most recent investments in Indian media have focused on content, “But the powerful Videocon d2h platform can participate in sector growth in multiple ways including subscriber growth, advertising and channel creation.” The Indian pay-TV industry is the fastest-growing in the world and Videocon offers the most channels of the six players in the relatively young satellite market. Silver Eagle is banking on that growth continuing.
Sagansky says about 84% of the country’s TV owners subscribe to pay-TV and with about 100M homes that have yet to purchase their first sets, there is significant room to grow. But, “above and beyond the growth of subcribers, we think this is going to be a great platform for advertising and content.”