Private equity firms TA Associates and India Value Fund Adviors (IVFA) will invest $500 million in broadband provider Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT), reports VCCircle. The report adds that the PE firms will now acquire 95% of the company following the deal.
Naveen A. Wadhera, co-head of Asia at TA Associates Asia Pacific Ltd, andDhiraj Poddar, co-head of India at TA Associates Advisory Pvt. Ltd, will join ACT’s board after the transaction is completed. It’s worth noting that earlier this month, IVFA received FIPB approval to acquire up to 100% stake in ACT. IVF’s proposal had earlier been deferred by FIPB, in April and January this year. Note that this stake acquisition pertains only to ACT’s broadband business, and the shareholding of ACT’s cable TV business will remain unaffected.
Note that IVFA currently holds 70% of ACT through a fund called “India Value Fund III” and it will be divesting a significant portion of its shareholding. IVFA is reinvesting in ACT through its new fund.
ACT had raised $23 million of debt financing from Olympus Capital Asia Credit (OCA Credit) and Kilimanjaro Credit Fund, in February last year. In June 2014, ACT had also acquired an additional 20% stake in Hyderabad-based ISP Beam Telecom for an undisclosed amount, thereby increasing its stake in the company to 80%. ACT had rebranded its broadband brand ACT Broadband as ACT Fibernet following its aqcusition of Beam Telecom and would provide 100 Mbps for retail use and up to 250 Mbps for commercial usage as part of its rebranding plan.
ACT claims to have a customer base of close to 700,000 in the country (as of February 2015). The company also claims to be largest wired-broadband provider in Hyderabad with 450,000 connections and says it has 140,000 connections in Bangalore, commanding a market share of 25%.
ACT’s plans to expand its broadband business will get a push with the new funds coming in. In February this year, the company had said that it was planning to roll out broadband services across the country and had earmarked Rs 100 crore investments for each centre. ACT is currently present in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and recently began operations in Visakhapatnam. They’ll be launching broadband services in Coimbatore shortly.
BSNL is currently the largest player in wired connections segment with 9.98 million broadband connections as per the TRAI numbers at the end of February. This is followed by Bharti Airtel with 1.43 million connections and MTNL with 1.14 million connections. ACT ranks fourth with 0.65 million connections while YOU Broadband is ranked fifth with 0.44 million connections.