Reliance and Disney merge media companies in India


Reliance, its Viacom18 portfolio and Disney are merging their media companies in India, creating the biggest media entity within the South Asian market. Reliance will management and personal 16.34% of the three way partnership, which it has valued at $8.5 billion. Disney will maintain 36.84% stake within the merged entity whereas Reliance-backed Viacom18, which additionally counts Paramount International and James Murdoch’s Bodhi Tree amongst its backers, will maintain 46.82% stake.

Reliance, which is India’s Most worthy firm, stated it noticed a possibility to broaden and streamline its presence within the fast-growing Indian market by merging its media belongings with Disney India. Reliance, which owns over 60% of Viacom18, plans to take a position $1.4 billion within the three way partnership for its development technique.

The “strategic” merger of Reliance and Disney India additionally brings collectively two main Indian streamers, JioCinema and Disney+Hotstar. The three way partnership will embody entry to dozens of Disney-owned tv channels, in addition to unique rights to Disney movies and different productions in India, in addition to the Mouse firm’s extra 30,000 belongings.

The merger provides Reliance a dominant place in sports activities and leisure, strengthened by the current acquisition of Jio’s sports activities rights from Disney/Star. The mixed unit will attain greater than 750 million viewers throughout India, the businesses stated.

“This can be a historic deal that heralds a brand new period within the Indian leisure trade,” Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, stated in a press release.

“We’ve all the time revered Disney as one of the best media group on the earth and we’re more than happy to type this strategic three way partnership which is able to assist us pool our huge assets, artistic prowess and market information to ship unparalleled content material to inexpensive costs to the general public throughout the nation. We welcome Disney as a key accomplice of the Reliance Group.

Reliance’s media empire, earlier than the Disney deal. (Information and picture: JP Morgan)

The merger comes as Disney’s Hotstar faces stiff competitors from JioCinema, which final yr lured prime expertise from Disney to bolster its platform. Viacom18 additionally outbid Disney’s $3 billion for five-year streaming rights to the favored Indian cricket match, the Indian Premier League, breaking a lot of Hotstar’s previous viewership data in only one yr. (Disney paid the identical quantity for the TV rights.)

Disney’s enterprise in India was as soon as valued at round $16 billion.

“India is essentially the most populous market on the earth and we’re excited concerning the alternatives this three way partnership will present to create long-term worth for the corporate,” Disney Chief Government Officer Bob Iger stated in a press release. communicated.

“Reliance has a deep understanding of the Indian market and shoppers and collectively we’ll create one of many nation’s main media firms, enabling us to raised serve shoppers with a broad portfolio of digital companies and leisure content material and sport.

The merger additionally reunites former Star India CEO Uday Shankar and James Murdoch with the corporate they beforehand constructed over a decade – Shankar left Star India after disputes with Disney in 2020, then he and Murdoch launched Bodhi Tree, a $1.7 billion-backed Indian media funding automobile. of Qatar Funding Authority which invested greater than $500 million in Viacom18. Shankar now returns as vice-chairman of the board of administrators of the merged entity.

The merger is topic to regulatory and shareholder approval and each firms anticipate it to be accomplished by the top of March 2025.


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