Though the first stage of the Phase III auctions has brought an unprecedented windfall for the central government, the smaller, regional players have found the going tough with most seemingly muscled out by the more financially strong nationwide operators. However, there is still intense bidding going on between the tier 2 players for frequencies in the North-east and other non-metros. As per sources, two first time operators had their entries rejected by the MIB in the pre-auction phase but the first stage has still seen its fair share of new and regional companies participating.
In the North-east, we have A M Television Pvt. Ltd., which is based in Guwahati, though the company is registered in Shillong. As per MIB’s disclosure, they have an initial available bidding amount of around Rs 37 lakh. Both Shillong and Guwahati have seen intense bidding since the start of the auctions. As of Day 23, Shillong had 2 bids for its 2 frequencies and its provisional winning price had reached Rs 40.35 lakh. Guwahati had 2 bids for its single frequency on Day 23, with the provisional winning price reaching Rs 3.34 crore.
Pratidin FM Pvt. Ltd. is another operator, which is participating in the auctions and which is also based in Guwahati. It is part of the Pratidin Group, which runs publication in Assam and other markets in the North-east. According to their earnest money deposit to the MIB, their initial eligibility was upto Rs 55 lakh, so Shillong still is within their original budget, though they will have to shell out more for Guwahati.
Another player from Odisha, Odisha Television Ltd. had an initial bidding limit of Rs 1.05 crore. With television operations in Bhubaneshwar, among other cities in the state, it would have been interested in getting a frequency for the city. However, Bhubaneswhar’s intense bidding early on means that it’s provisional winning price now stands at Rs 7.40 crore, way more than the initial bidding points allocated to not only Odisha Television, but also other regional players from the region like Sarthak Films Pvt. Ltd. and Venus Autoworks Pvt. Ltd. All players seem to have dug deep to land this one and this is not including the larger national players.
Abir Buildcon Pvt. Ltd., based out of Raipur, is one of a few realty groups that are participating in the auctions. Though Raipur has no frequencies available for the auctions, considering its presence in Chattisgarh, it might find some of the other frequencies in the state enticing. It has an eligible budget of around Rs 32 lakh. The only frequencies up for auctions in Chattisgarh are in Bilaspur, which has 3 frequencies. Bilaspur had a reserve price of Rs 32.15 lakh and currently has 2 bids for its 3 frequencies and a provisional winning price of Rs 33.45 lakh.
Other real estate companies in the fray are Nagpur-based Abhijit Realtors and Infraventures Pvt. Ltd. and Jaipur-based Nirmal Sagar Buildcon Private Limited. In Maharashtra, Abhijit Realtors is joined by the Pudhari Publications Group, which runs Tomato FM from Kolhapur and Sangli.
Pudhari had initial eligibility points of 3600 points, which translates to about Rs 36 crore, while Abhijit Realtors had an initial budget of Rs 5.71 crore. Jaipur currently has a provisional winning price of Rs 28.34 crore.
Other cities in the state of Rajasthan like Udaipur and Jodhpur have also seen interest, with Jodhpur currently having 2 bids for its single frequency at a provisional winning price of Rs 6.24 crore. In Maharashtra, as of Day 23, Nasik had a cumulative winning price of Rs 7.76 crore with 1 bid for its 2 available frequencies